Posted September 30, 2010 9:07 am by with 2 comments

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You know that we here at Marketing Pilgrim have had boatloads of fun at the expense of Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz. Initially, I thought (like many others) that her brash style would be good for the ailing Internet property that was once at the top of a pretty large heap in the Internet space.

As is often the case with perceptions they can fall far short of reality. Carol Bartz’s tenure at Yahoo to this point has to be classified as at least a perception gone horribly wrong. The evidence comes in the form of the continued executive level departures at the highest levels of the organization. While some at Yahoo are trying to spin this executive revolving door as a planned action, not many are buying it.

Kara Swisher of All Things Digital says this as she reveals the chaos that is Yahoo’s leadership

The executive turmoil at the very top of Yahoo continues, with the company poised to announce the resignations of three top execs, including U.S. head Hilary Schneider (pictured here), according to sources close to the situation.

The other execs also leaving, which Yahoo (YHOO) is planning on revealing Friday: U.S. Audience head David Ko and, as BoomTown previously reported, VP of Media Jimmy Pitaro.

While some at Yahoo are trying to spin it as an ouster, sources close to the situation said that Schneider–who presides over media and advertising sales at Yahoo–has wanted to leave the company for a while, but was convinced to stay on by CEO Carol Bartz.

She then says

This entire mess–and that’s precisely what it is–calls into question the tenure of Bartz, a tough-talking, cost-cutting exec who was brought in to clean up Yahoo after the maelstrom around the failed takeover attempt by Microsoft several years ago.

Swisher is not alone with her assessment as another influential tech insider, Henry Blodgett says over at Business Insider’s SAI that when it comes to Carol bartz and Yahoo the thrill is gone.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s penchant for shooting her mouth off saying colorful things is coming back to bite her.

In recent weeks, Carol has:

– Annoyed Apple by saying company’s control-freakness will doom its efforts in the ad business
– Annoyed Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma with some public remarks about Yahoo’s Alibaba stake
– “Alarmed” execs at search-partner Microsoft, one of whom tells Kara Swisher that “It is becoming a little unsettling.”

When things are going well, a CEO can say just about anything he or she wants. (And, in fact, it’s refreshing, as it was in the early days of Carol’s reign). When things are going badly, however, as they are at Yahoo, colorful remarks can create the impression that the CEO is a loose cannon or all hat and no cattle.

If you have ever been an employee of a company that has this much drama and turmoil as the focus rather than products, services, revenue and getting business done, it can be disheartening. As a result, this turmoil bleeds down through the organization and can kill the spirit of even the most dedicated employees.

So what’s Yahoo to do? Maybe to kill this monster they will need to cut off its head. Swisher says

This week, according to sources, some board members had an emergency meeting at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale, Calif., HQ to try to figure out how to deal with the burgeoning management issue.

Some speculate that they will hire a second-in-command to Bartz, who might be able to take over for her when her contract is up in 18 months.

Yahoo declined to comment.

If I were Yahoo I would probably want to decline to comment as well since it looks like everything else with the company is in decline already.

  • That’s definitely a scary read for Yahoo investors. Although they already had an idea that the company was hurting. Still, rampant unprofessionalism can’t be helping any company in this environment.

  • Did Yahoo continue this case to carol?