Yahoo! Inc Chairman Roy Bostock fired CEO Carol Bartz over the phone yesterday, ending a tumultuous tenure marked by stagnation and a rift with Chinese partner Alibaba.
Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse will step in as interim CEO, and the company will search for a permanent leader to spearhead a battle in online advertising and content with rivals Google Inc and Facebook.
Shares in Yahoo! jumped six per cent in after-hours trading to $13.7 after closing at $12.90 on the Nasdaq. They are scarcely higher than where they were when Bartz first took the reins in January 2009, with hopes of reviving stalled growth and competing with up-and-coming rivals.
On Tuesday, her efforts were abruptly halted after Bostock called with the bad news. “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo!’s chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward,” the outspoken CEO said in an email to employees.
Yahoo! is still a popular destination on the internet but faces increasing competition from Facebook and Google, the latter having a market value of $170 billion, 10 times more than Yahoo!. Yahoo! said a new executive leadership council would help Morse in managing day-to-day operations and supporting “a comprehensive strategic review” to position the company for growth.
Some analysts said Bartz’s departure signalled the company had run out of options after failing to dominate the advertising and content markets and handing over its search operations to Microsoft Corp. That partnership, under which Microsoft handles search for Yahoo!’s websites and keeps a portion of ad revenue, appears to favour the software company at Yahoo!’s expense.