There was a time when Sue Decker was a star executive and shoo-in candidate for the CEO job at Yahoo.
But a number of decisions, including her role in rejecting Microsoft’s buyout offer, derailed her reputation. Eventually, she left the company after Yahoo chose Carol Bartz over her as CEO in 2009.
Still, Decker remains a respected business executive, and helps some of the largest companies, including Intel, Costco, and Berkshire Hathaway, make better decisions by sitting on their boards.
Yahoo’s not one of the companies Decker’s involved with anymore. But she was still able to provide some advice on the bealeaguered internet giant in a CNBC interview on Friday.
“Unfortunately, because of the breadth of what Yahoo does, they sort of became mediocre in so many properties,” Decker said.
Her comment was made in reference to Yahoo’s lack of focus, an oft-criticised part of the company that seems to be involved in everything from news, email, and social, without winning in one particular area. She pointed out how Google remains dominant in search and Facebook in social, despite venturing into other areas like video and messaging.
And to fix it, Decker believes a leadership change is inevitable.
“It was a tough hand that Marissa [Mayer] was dealt, and I think she’s done her best to play it. But at this point, it really probably needs to have a new owner situation,” she continued.
Decker believes it will be helpful for Yahoo to go private or become part of a much larger corporation, especially since it will help avoid the “intense media scrutiny” surrounding the company. Latest reports indicate Verizon’s the front-runner to acquire Yahoo’s core internet business, with private equity firms lke TPG also swirling around.
Regardless, Decker says there’s no easy way out, and the only way to really save Yahoo is to keep its focus.
“I hope the next owner can do something to revitalize the spirit of the core things that made Yahoo very, very unique and create a distinction in consumers minds about why they love yahoo still,” she said.
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