The No-Exit Interview: Bartz Curses at Yahoo Board — Really, Um, With Her Favorite Curse
Ousted Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has given an exit interview with Fortune magazine’s Pattie Sellers, in which she says about Yahoo’s board of directors: “These people f*#&ed me over.”
She also called them “doofuses.”
Besides the fact that I have not heard that particular insult since I was eight years old and fighting over a turn on the swing at the playground, oh dear.
But not too much of a shock from a woman not known for polite diplomacy.
And, in fact, Bartz seems to be displaying some of the more edgy qualities that perhaps got her into hot water with the directors of the Silicon Valley Internet giant.
A disgruntled ex-CEO going postal is the last thing Yahoo needs now, as it seeks to move forward and explore strategic options.
But it is clear the company has no control over the feisty — read, volcanic — Bartz, who already took a dig at the board and its Chairman Roy Bostock in her parting email to Yahoo employees, noting he fired her over the phone.
She is more specific in the Fortune interview, the first since she was fired.
On Tuesday, Bartz was in New York, to speak at Citigroup’s technology conference the next day, when she was supposed to call Bostock at 6 p.m. “I called him at 6:06,” she recalls. When he got on the line, she says, he started reading a lawyer’s prepared statement to dismiss her.
“I said, ‘Roy, I think that’s a script,’” adding, “‘Why don’t you have the balls to tell me yourself?’”
When Bostock finished reading, Bartz didn’t argue — “I got it. I got it,” she told the Yahoo chairman. “I thought you were classier,” she added.
I thought a lot of people in this situation were, too, starting with Bartz, who will be paid $10 million as severance for her lackluster performance at Yahoo.
In the startling interview, Bartz also defends her tenure and lack of ability to pull off a promised-but-not-delivered turnaround.
Her excuse: Not enough time.
Said Bartz to Fortune: “‘They want revenue growth,’ says Bartz about the Yahoo board, ‘even though they were told that we would not have revenue growth until 2012.’”
She said she was saddled with a board reeling after their disastrous takeover battle with Microsoft.
“The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country,” Bartz said to Fortune. “Now they’re trying to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are.”
She also inexplicably said she ditched the fancy hotel she was in — presumably at Yahoo’s expense — so she could avoid getting her walking papers from company lawyers.
As I said: Oh dear.
And it does not end there. In answer to a question about who Yahoo should bring in long term, she offered up herself (this had to be a joke) and also said she plans on remaining on Yahoo’s board.
Um, not so much, Carol!
At the end of the interview, Bartz said she was spilling, because: “I want to make sure that the employees don’t believe that I’ve abandoned them. I would never abandon them.”
And she jokes about Yahoo’s logo color: “I have way too many purple clothes,” adding, “I wish the Yahoo people the best, because it’s a fantastic franchise.”
More fantastic, perhaps, if she would stop strafing it.
Then again, as I have always said: Bartz is the gift that keeps on giving to the press, even if not so much to Yahoo.
Speaking of her naughty-word stylings, here she is giving me the business in an onstage interview at the seventh D: All Things Digital in 2009, 57 seconds in:
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