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Carol Bartz Reported Preparing for Yahoo Shake-Up
Carol Bartz Reported Preparing for Yahoo Shake-Up

By Frederick Lane
February 23, 2009 2:05PM

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A Yahoo management shake-up is reportedly coming as new CEO Carol Bartz prepares to put her mark on the troubled search giant. Bartz is expected to implement a top-down structure and is said to be hunting for management talent. An analyst said the Yahoo shake-up is needed and Yahoo needs to focus its engineers on search.
 


New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is reportedly planning a significant reorganization of the Internet search-engine and media portal. News of the rumored management shake-up was first reported Monday in The Wall Street Journal.

While details are still being finalized, one leading proposal is for Yahoo's chief technology officer, Aristotle Balogh, to take on new responsibilities as head of products for the company. Operations for various geographic regions would be consolidated under single executives, and a more top-down, streamlined approach would be implemented for certain business functions which are currently scattered throughout the company.

The Journal also reported that Bartz has launched searches to fill various slots in Yahoo's management structure and plans to "streamline" the company's senior vice presidents and vice presidents.

Positive Steps

The rumored moves were praised by Karsten Weide, an industry analyst with the market intelligence firm IDC.

"I think it's great," Weide said. "I think so far Ms. Bartz has done everything right. She is focusing on cleaning up the huge overhead that Yahoo has in middle management. There are literally hundreds of VPs still at Yahoo, although some have recently left. The company will save money, and it will make decisions faster."

Weide also praised Bartz for not immediately outsourcing Yahoo's search function and for recognizing the importance of Asian assets to the company's future.

Bartz wasn't an obvious choice to replace former CEO and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, who left the position after the collapse of a high-profile ad-sharing agreement with Google. Although she had a successful 14-year stint as CEO of Autodesk, Bartz came to Yahoo without significant experience in either Internet enterprises or new media.

Some analysts predicted it would take months for her to get up to speed on Yahoo's complicated structure and warned that the company could experience an extended period of drift.

Just What Yahoo Needed?

But Weide thinks Bartz was a good hire for Yahoo. He agreed that her lack of Internet and search-engine experience might be a drawback, but thinks she brings two vitally needed qualities to Yahoo: Toughness and experience with engineers.

"First, Yahoo needs to clean up its organizational issues," Weide said, "by thinning its management structures, getting rid of unprofitable properties, etc. Ms. Bartz has a history of being a tough manager, which is a great benefit. Second, having run Autodesk, she has a strong engineering background, which will help Yahoo focus its efforts on search."

The central battleground on the Internet right now, Weide argued, is search. In order for Yahoo to continue to compete effectively, it must be a viable player in search, which Weide believes is primarily an engineering issue.

"I think that she is very well-suited," Weide said, "to giving Yahoo engineers the support and the focus they need to improve Yahoo's search function."
 

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