For the third time in four years, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has bid goodbye to a CEO, leaving the company reeling after two-plus years of relative inertia in the ultra-competitive Internet sector.
Yahoo Sept. 6 fired CEO Carol Bartz, who was expected to bring a lot of the fire and chutzpah she showed for years as CEO at software maker AutoDesk, and named CFO Tim Morse her successor.
Wall Street cheered the move as Yahoo's stock price, which hovered around $12.50 before and since Bartz took over, shot up to $13.72 Sept. 6 before settling down to $13.42 on the morning of Sept. 7 on the news.
Morse follows Bartz, who succeeded co-founder Jerry Yang in January 2009, who in turn took over for Terry Semel in June 2007. Bartz, Yang and Semel all failed to restore Yahoo's flagging brand after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) soared past the company in search and passed it for the first time in display advertising earlier this year.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media players also whittle eyeballs from Yahoo, which is still the No. 2 search player and whose Yahoo Mail product is the world's leading Webmail application.
Bartz said in an email to Yahoo employees she was fired via phone by Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock, who has also weathered heavy criticism in the last several years for supporting Yang and then Bartz even as investors called for their firings.
Bartz made some interesting moves, overseeing a search and mail revamp and integrating tightly with Facebook and Twitter in its search, news and mail properties.
However, the sometimes tart-tongued Bartz may best be remembered for putting together a bold search deal with Microsoft, which pays Yahoo 88 percent of traffic acquisitions costs through the first five years of a 10-year deal where Bing powers Yahoo search. Bartz earlier this year Yahoo's search deal with Microsoft wasn't producing as much revenue as the companies expected.
Yahoo, which triggered several rounds of layoffs, closed Buzz and GeoCities and sold its valuable Delicious bookmarking asset under Bartz, also watched Alibaba had spun off an online payment service, a play that could impinge the value of Yahoo's investment in the portal.