Carol Bartz is fired as CEO of Yahoo

Carol Bartz

Carol Bartz

Carole Bartz was fired by a phone call as CEO of Yahoo. What does this tell us about the corporate culture?


The intitally published version of this post suggested Carol Bartz was ‘fired by an email’. That turned out to be false and I apologise for the error. She was fired in an unexpected telephone call. The core of the original post was that dismissal by email would have been outrageous. I’m not convinced about her ‘dismissal by mobile’, although there could well be mitigating circumstances for that. There remains an interesting story of how Ms Bartz has been treated since her appointment as one of the most successful female executives in Coprorate America.

Carole replaces Jerry

Ms Bartz took over at Yahoo in 2009 from one it its co-founders Jerry Yan. She made organizational changes, cut costs and attempted to move out of search-oriented business.

According to the BBC Ms Bartz emailed her own staff yesterday [Sept 6th 2011] to say

“I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman of the board”

Larry Magid, a technology analyst said the company has not seen enough of a turn-around under Ms Bartz’s leadership. “She hasn’t done anything to change the company’s fortunes, and they are still anxious to find a leader who can move them up,” he said. Critics also claim that Yahoo has failed to make significant strides in two of the most lucrative segments of the market; search and social networking.

Tim Morse, the company’s chief financial officer will serve as and interim chief executive while the board of directors select a new CEO. Shares of Yahoo jumped at after hours trading on the news [6th Sept 2011].

Bartz and the Glass Ceiling

In an earlier Leaders we deserve post we looked at the impressive track record of Bartz. The press comments on her appointment suggested that the Glass Ceiling was still alive and well for female executives in Corporate America. It also hinted at ageism (Bartz was in her 60s on appointment).

Dismissals we deserve

It can be argued that Carole Bartz ‘deserved’ to be fired for failing to meet the expectations of the marketplace. However, the manner of her firing may tell something about the culture of Yahoo, and attitudes to women and ageism in global corporations and financial institutions.

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