Yahoo Dumps CEO Carol Bartz

Yahoo is looking for a new CEO, again.

In an unexpected turn of events, former CEO Carol Bartz was fired by the Yahoo Board of Directors on Tuesday.

According to reports, Bartz was unceremoniously fired over the phone. Bartz had over a year left on her contract with Yahoo.

Bartz was chosen as the CEO of Yahoo back in January of 2009 as a replacement for founder Jerry Yang. Yang himself became CEO only after former CEO Terry Semel left the company in 2007.

Prior to her Yahoo stint, Bartz held high-level positions at Autodesk and Sun Microsystems.

Yahoo has been facing multiple challenges in recent years as it struggles to remain relevant in the new era of social networking and Google’s online search dominance. One of the biggest strategic moves that occurred under Bartz’s leadership is Yahoo’s search partnership with Microsoft. Under that deal, Microsoft’s Bing search technology powers Yahoo’s search. It’s a deal that hasn’t worked all that well according to at least one analyst.

“Neither the micro nor macro view of Yahoo’s performance since Bartz took over in January 2009 paint a pretty picture,” Allen Weiner Research VP at Gartner blogged. “The big picture shows that the Microsoft-Yahoo search alliance has not gone to either party’s satisfaction and that Yahoo has lost a number of key executives and was caught so short staffed is pointed to being undermanned as a reason for a disappointing Q2.”

According to job tracking website glassdoor, Bartz’a approval rating by Yahoo employees wasn’t all that great in 2011. Glassdoor’s latest set of Yahoo employee reviews for the third quarter of 2011 gave Bartz a 33 percent approval rating.

Bartz is being replaced by Yahoo CFO Tim Morse, as Interim CEO. Morse’s temporary appointment is not seen as a good thing by several analysts. Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research wrote in a research note that his view was that both Bartz and Morse should have been fired together.

“We don’t have high opinions on the CFO either…he just kept cutting costs which is the most easiest thing to do,” Chowdhry wrote. “Both the CEO and CFO are completely clueless of the velocity of innovation that is needed to succeed in the Internet space.”

Gartner’s Weiner noted that finance executives do not typically lead successful media companies.

“The company could look inward to EVP Ross Levinsohn former President of Fox Interactive or could begin the challenging search for a rare Steve Jobs-like leader who can spin the dials of the Yahoo Rubik’s Cube and revive this once-iconic brand,” Weiner suggested.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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