Bartz paints colourful picture of Yahoo exit

Bartz paints colourful picture of Yahoo exit

Summary: Former Yahoo boss Carol Bartz has given a typically forthright account of her sacking by the board, which took place on Tuesday.Speaking to Fortune on Wednesday, Bartz accused the "doofuses" on the Yahoo board of not giving her the chance to see the long-term benefits of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal she arranged in 2009.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Former Yahoo boss Carol Bartz has given a typically forthright account of her sacking by the board, which took place on Tuesday.

Speaking to Fortune on Wednesday, Bartz accused the "doofuses" on the Yahoo board of not giving her the chance to see the long-term benefits of the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal she arranged in 2009. She said the board was fixated on short-term revenue growth, and that deal was never going to pay off until 2012 at the earliest.

"These people fucked me over," Bartz said, describing how when she called board chairman Roy Bostock just after 6pm on Tuesday, he began reading a lawyer's prepared statement to her. "Roy, I think that's a script," she recounted herself saying. "Why don't you have the balls to tell me yourself? […] I thought you were classier."

Fortune also reported in a separate story that Bartz's colourful characterisation of Bostock and other board members may cost her $10m, as she herself is still technically a member of that board and a company employee, and her contract has a non-disparagement clause.

Meanwhile on Thursday, a New York investment firm, which has a 5.2 percent stake in Yahoo, called on Bostock and the rest of the board to resign, saying they should also take responsibility for the company's poor performance, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also reports that Bostock was supposed to fire Bartz in person, but stormy weather made their face-to-face meeting impossible. In the call, Bartz was given the option of being fired or quitting, and Fortune reports that she changed hotels to avoid being served papers. At that point, she emailed staff from her iPad to tell them she had been fired.

Meanwhile Carl Bass, Bartz's successor at the helm of Autodesk, is quoted by Bloomberg as saying that "firing someone on the phone is like telling your spouse you want a divorce in an e-mail".

In her Fortune interview, Bartz said the board could not see past the fact that the Microsoft-Yahoo deal, which the article says "has Yahoo paying Microsoft 12 percent of its search revenue", puts the brakes on Yahoo's current growth.

"They want revenue growth even though they were told that we would not have revenue growth until 2012," Bartz said.

She also said the board was "spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country", after it turned down Microsoft's $33-per-share takeover offer in 2008 — Yahoo shares now trade at $14 (£8.77) each. That incident led to the exit of then-chief executive Jerry Yang and the arrival of Bartz, and Bartz said on Thursday that the board is now "trying to show that they're not the doofuses that they are".

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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