Yahoo: Lying, Resigning, Replacing, Now Illness? Can We Just Move On?



If you are Yahoo you have got to do one thing moving forward and one thing only. You have to find a way to make news that doesn’t involve you CEO’s level of competence. It’s pretty simple, don’t you think? Yahoo is a large publicly traded company, has (or more accurately had) thousands of employees, still is one of the leaders on the entire Internet in overall traffic but all it has become known for is being the fodder for the new National Enquirer type of “reporting” that has become the Internet industry space at times.

They just need to stop listening to everyone and everything, they need to determine what it is they actually do, state it clearly then do it with a laser focus. Laser focus has not been the company’s forte in recent years. Want to see what I mean? Let’s review.

Jerry Yang replaced by Carol Bartz – This was billed as the move for Yahoo to get serious. The removal of Jerry Yang to make room for a tough veteran c-level executive with a penchant for swearing like a longshoreman was supposed to put Yahoo on track. To sum up, we are now a couple years removed from the original hiring and high hopes around Bartz. Let;s just say her era at the helm will be felt for some time to come. Oh and, by the way, those effects have not been close to positive.

Carol Bartz replaced by Scott Thompson – Once Bartz’s act grew old enough to get her fired by e-mail (or so the legend goes) we were introduced to the Scott Thompson era. An executive from PayPal with no experience dealing in a company that does what Yahoo does (whatever that is today), Thompson came in and started throwing away everything regardless if there was bath water, a baby or even a tub. Much of that collateral damage was more employees losing their jobs. Now the number of ex-Yahooers might actually outnumber the ranks of the current?

Shareholder gets a bee in his bonnet and Thompson exposed as liar- If only Scott Thompson’s exposure had been him being a flasher in the park this would have all been easier to make sense of. Instead, one of Yahoo’s largest shareholders, Daniel Loeb of Third Point, LLC wanted to run Thompson out of town. There were board of directors seats in question and things got testy.

Loeb must have gone into this with his ace-in-the-hole being that he knew that Scott Thompson’s resume was, well let’s just say embellished a bit. You probably know about that matter of Thompson claiming to have a degree from a college that didn’t offer that degree program until years after he graduated? Those kinds of things can bring integrity into the fray. A no-no for sure.

Thompson goes silent – In what can only be explained as a “WTF do we do now!?!?!?” reaction, Thompson and Yahoo played some bizarre dance of going silent, half apologizing then pointing fingers at the recruiting firm it hired to do such a stellar job of finding such a great CEO like Thompson. In the process that recruiting firm, Heidrick & Struggles, showed that there is sometimes more to a company name than meets the eye, as they struggled to not go down with this listing ship. In the end, Thompson’s and Yahoo’s handling of this is yet just another in a long list of reasons why Yahoo has become great business school case study fodder for what not to do in virtually every business situation.

Thompson is fired resigns – Thompson has now been fired resigned and has been replaced. I won’t even bother giving you the name of the person because it may have changed from the time I finished this post and hit the publish button. (Actually it’s the head of global media at the company, Ross Levinsohn, who is now in charge and a new chairman of the board, Fred Amoroso, is in place as well).

Thompson reveals he has cancer – The Wall Street Journal reports that late last week Thompspn revealed to the board that he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and that is part of the reason why he is stepping down. I feel for the man because cancer sucks. It’s just so odd that this is being used as an element of this whole plot. It simply adds to the bizarre nature of the whole situation.

Yahoo to decide if it pays Thompson on way out – Depending on how this whole thing is interpreted it appears that Thompson may miss out on some big money as a result of how this all came down. We’ll let the lawyers figure that out over time.

In the end, there stands Yahoo. Living off the fact that a lot of people have apparently developed a Yahoo habit of coming to the site for years for email or whatever without really thinking about what Yahoo was doing to keep pace with the rest of the online world (which has not been much). It’s bruised, battered and looks nothing like it used to. Apparently the remaining staffers are quite demoralized and who wouldn’t be?

I wish this would all just go away and Yahoo would just get down to business ….. or least what’s left of it.

Your thoughts?