Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Bartz Holds First Exec Offsite, as the Yahoos Turn (and Twist in the Wind)!

Today, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has convened a two-day offsite of its managers, to bring them all together to talk about the company.

Aside from a colorful all-hands meeting she held with the whole company, the gathering is Bartz’s first major one of its top execs, sources said, and is being held on Yahoo’s campus in Sunnyvale.

Sources said they believe Bartz has prepared an organizational structure that she will unveil soon, but has not told Yahoo’s senior staff what will be shifted, what will be consolidated and what will perhaps be cut.

Her close-to-the-vest style so far, especially about her reorganization, is what has Yahoo (YHOO) execs on edge, given it is clear to those who have spoken to her that change is surely coming.

Several people inside and outside the company who have spoken with her said she has indicated that Yahoo is still overstaffed and needs to get leaner and meaner, while others said she has expressed concern about the complex decision-making process.

Today’s offsite with top staff is a shift from Bartz’s getting-to-know-’Hoo efforts since she got to Yahoo a month ago, which have largely been her meeting execs one-on-one or dropping into various staff meetings and, from all reports I have gotten so far, asking very pointed questions.

So far, it has been Bartz flying solo, with no entourage or staff, except for her executive assistant, Judy Flores, who came with Bartz from Autodesk.

“Wherever Carol goes, Judy goes,” said one exec. “But that’s it.”

And as she goes, Bartz has let loose with a lot of questions.

“She is asking the right ones, although the tone is much more tough than employees are used to,” said one Yahoo exec.

That’s the polite version, of course, with some at Yahoo reeling from Bartz’s laser-gun queries and some thrilled that those kinds of tough questions are finally being asked out loud.

“She doesn’t seem to know the current state of the Internet business that well, but she does know how to whip a company into shape,” said another exec. “It can be a little disconcerting for those Web heads at the company to get that kind of scrutiny.”

At a recent smaller meeting of top execs, for example, Bartz went around the table and asked what each did, making comments as it went on.

Two execs were a “two-in-one box,” meaning they did the same thing, to her mind. And she had to get well around the room until she could find someone who made some dough. “Finally, revenue,” Bartz reportedly joked.

Bartz has already displayed that no-holds-barred style in public, tsk-tsking those who give Yahoo unsolicited advice and offering bounties for those employees who leak info.

(BoomTown’s personal favorite from the Bartz repertoire so far: “This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens.”)

Pulling apart Yahoo internally and remaking it is another story. That’s why the company is practically humming with gossip about what will happen to a variety of execs–especially those close to the former regime of co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang and President Sue Decker.

More on the possible management shifts later…


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google