What’s The Real Story With Yahoo CEO Candidate Arun Sarin? (YHOO)


We don’t know much about former Vodafone (VOD) CEO Arun Sarin other than what it says on his resume, which doesn’t help much. Now that the Wall Street Journal says he’s a candidate for the Yahoo (YHOO) CEO gig, it’s time we learned the real story.

So, those of you who have observed Arun in his work habitat, please let us know.  Is he as good as the Yahoo board thinks he is? Or not? Leave a comment or create a fake email address and email us at [email protected], or just call 646-747-1539.

An anonymous reader — one who claims to be former member of Vodafone senior management — has started things off, and not on a positive note.  We hope Arun’s defenders will speak up if this is just a hit job.

I used to work at Vodafone (in newbury) until a few months ago. I was in the senior management team. My boss reported to Sarin and I interacted with him and his direct reports every week.

If Arun is appointed to lead Yahoo! it would be a major disaster. His track record at VOD is dismal. he was universally distrusted and disliked. He destroyed tremendous value with horrible, overpaid acquisitions such as Turkey and India, a strategy that has already been reversed by his successor. He never had a feasible strategy for growing the core business, and made up some staff about advertising and applications that led to nothing (again, reversed by Vittorio who has declared focus on cost cutting).

Arun was so clueless about the Internet business that he and other senior VOD guys went to California for a few for weeks in 2006 to visit Google, Yahoo!, Ebay and others to learn about “web 2.0.” That’s how well he understands the Internet business.

He tried to create a global business with a single organisation, integrating the processes at VOD, which is actually a portfolio of separate companies that share only the same brand and a loose management process, and failed. That led to the departure of Peter Bamford (whom Arun never really supported), Thomas Geitner, and Bill Morrow (all three much better candidates for Yahoo!), among others, and left the organisation in tatters with broken processes in planning, strategy, product development, HR, governance, and everything else.

He recruited a very weak management team, made up of mediocrities such as Frank Rovekamp, Steve Pusey, and Terry Kramer, who would never get senior jobs in other organisations of similar size.

Things only changed when John Bond came on board as Chairman, forced Arun to hire Vittorio as 2nd in command, and got Arun to leave in a positive note when the business did somewhat OK in a quarter, before it dropped off a cliff and missed results.

All in all a track record that Yahoo! does not need. They need a real operator. Not a smooth politician who is skillfull in surviving in underperforming businesses.

See Also:
New Yahoo CEO Pick: Vodafone’s Arun Sarin (YHOO)