Kara Swisher

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Yahoo Confirms Bartz Pick as CEO; No. 2 Exec Decker Out

As reported by BoomTown and others, Yahoo has officially selected former Autodesk (ADSK) head Carol Bartz as its next CEO, effective immediately.

She will also join the Yahoo board.

In a press release this afternoon, Yahoo also said President Sue Decker is resigning after an undetermined transition period. She has been at Yahoo almost nine years.

Decker was one of the internal CEO candidates, but she and outgoing Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang have been badly tarnished by Yahoo’s weak performance of late.

About the Bartz appointment, Yang said in the release: “I couldn’t be more pleased with the Board’s choice of Carol Bartz as CEO and look forward to returning to my former role as Chief Yahoo. I believe Carol is the ideal person to take Yahoo! forward and I will be honored to be a resource to assist her in any way she finds helpful.”

Carol Bartz said: “Yahoo! is a powerful global brand with a great collection of assets, strong technology, and enormously talented employees….There is no denying that Yahoo! has faced enormous challenges over the last year, but I believe there is now an extraordinary opportunity to create value for our shareholders and new possibilities for our customers, partners and employees. We will seize that opportunity.”

Cue the trumpets and fanfare! All hail the conquering Carol!

Well, maybe not, considering the dire straits Yahoo is in.

But you can read all about it below, while I ferret out the real information about what’s to come next.

Here’s the official Yahoo press release:

Carol Bartz Joins Yahoo! as Chief Executive Officer

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan 13, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) –

Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), a leading global brand and one of the world’s most trafficked Internet destinations, announced today that Carol Bartz, a veteran technology executive who was most recently Executive Chairman of Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK), has been named Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Prior to becoming Executive Chairman of Autodesk in 2006, Bartz, 60, led Autodesk as CEO for 14 years, transforming the company into a leader in computer-aided design software. During her tenure as CEO, revenues increased from less than $300 million to more than $1.5 billion, and the company’s share price increased nearly ten-fold.

In addition to turning around Autodesk, Bartz’s extensive executive experience includes hands-on responsibility for leading global operations, engineering, sales and marketing organizations for large technology and engineering companies including Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation and 3M.

Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Board, said, “We are very excited to have Carol Bartz leading Yahoo! into its next era of growth. She is the exact combination of seasoned technology executive and savvy leader that the Board was looking for, and we are thrilled to have attracted such a world-class talent to Yahoo!. She is admired in the Valley as well as on Wall Street for her deep management expertise, strong customer orientation, excellent people skills, and firm understanding of the challenges facing our industry. Carol meets all of the criteria we set for the search and is the only person to whom we offered the job. The Board is united in its view that her energetic and decisive leadership style, coupled with a proven track record of driving growth, operational excellence and shareholder value, is exactly what Yahoo! needs to get back on a path toward achieving its full potential.”

Bostock continued, “On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Jerry Yang for acceding to our request 18 months ago to step into the CEO role. Jerry’s unwavering enthusiasm for Yahoo!, his unique perspective on the company, and iconic stature in the industry make him an invaluable resource for the future. We are delighted that he plans to stay actively involved and are deeply grateful for his many contributions to the company’s development over the years.”

Carol Bartz said, “Yahoo! is a powerful global brand with a great collection of assets, strong technology, and enormously talented employees. The Company has accomplished a great deal in its relatively short history and I look forward to working together to take it to the next level. There is no denying that Yahoo! has faced enormous challenges over the last year, but I believe there is now an extraordinary opportunity to create value for our shareholders and new possibilities for our customers, partners and employees. We will seize that opportunity.”

Jerry Yang said, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the Board’s choice of Carol Bartz as CEO and look forward to returning to my former role as Chief Yahoo. I believe Carol is the ideal person to take Yahoo! forward and I will be honored to be a resource to assist her in any way she finds helpful. I believe Yahoo!’s best years are still ahead of it. For the past 14 years, I have poured all of my energies into this great company–and I hope to keep contributing to its success for many years to come.”

Yahoo! also announced that President Sue Decker has informed the Board that she will resign after remaining with the Company for a transitional period. Bostock said, “The Board thanks Sue for her service as President, the important contributions she has made to Yahoo!’s development in a variety of roles over the past 8-1/2 years, and her willingness to work with Carol Bartz to ensure a smooth transition. We respect her decision to move on to other challenges and wish her only the best.”

Carol Bartz has been the Lead Independent Director of Cisco Systems since 2005 and a director since 1996. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Intel Corporation and NetApp. She holds a bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Conference Call and Webcast Information

Yahoo! will host an analyst conference call to discuss today’s announcement at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time today. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed through the Company’s Investor Relations website at http://yhoo.client.shareholder.com/index.cfm. The dial-in number for the live conference call is (888) 253-4037. Participants calling from outside the United States may dial (719)867-0591. The passcode 379105 is required to access the call. In addition, an archive of the webcast can be accessed through the same link. An audio replay of the call will be available following the conference call by dialing (888) 348-4629 (Primary) or (719) 884-8882 (International), reservation number: 379105.


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