We’re going to withhold judgment on Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz until we’ve heard her plan for the company. Carol’s clearly talented and experienced enough that she might put a good plan together. With no Internet or consumer experience, she might also preside over the finishing touches of Yahoo’s self-destruction. We’ll just have to wait and see.
We understand why the board picked Carol, though: She’s the safe choice. She may do a horrible job, but just as no one ever got fired for buying IBM, Yahoo’s board now won’t be castigated for taking a reckless risk. After hiring Jerry and blowing the Microsoft deal, Yahoo’s board needs to look after No. 1. It has now done so.
We’d like to have seen the board take more risk, hiring a young, hungry Internet candidate like DoubleClick’s David Rosenblatt, who would set an example of renewed intensity by working around the clock and who knows the business cold.
But based on everything we’ve heard, Carol probably has what it takes to get the job done–as long as she is obsessed with getting it right. One of the criticisms we have heard of Carol is that at Autodesk she was so focused on her outside board slots that she only worked a couple days a week. That won’t do it here, especially because she’s going to have one heck of a learning curve. So we certainly hope she gives fixing Yahoo her full attention.
Welcome, Carol! We look forward to hearing your plan.