Thanks to Yahoo’s dismissal of Carol Bartz, we have a fresh example of how CEO firings are communicated.
Instead of a well-crafted joint news release, Bartz herself trumped the company’s announcement by sending a terse, firm-wide email that quickly found its way to the press. And before everyone else had it, Kara Swisher at Dow Jones’s AllThingsDigital broke the news. The company’s news release followed the first media reports by an hour – a lifetime in today’s media environment.
To its credit, the Yahoo board just came out and said it had “removed” Bartz. This contrasts with the carefully worded announcement last week from Bank of New York Mellon, which said the CEO’s departure was “by mutual agreement” but was later acknowledged in a regulatory filing as a termination without cause. There’s a refreshing directness about Yahoo’s approach, but it gives Bartz little reason to go quietly, and we might hear more from her in the days ahead.
Yahoo’s appointment of an interim CEO also prolongs the uncertainty about the company’s leadership and seems likely to renew speculation about a possible sale of the company. Indeed, Yahoo shares moved higher by 6%in after-hours trading following the news.