Yahoo has chosen former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz as its next CEO to replace Jerry Yang, who announced his intention to step down in November, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
Neither Yahoo nor Autodesk immediately responded to requests for comment about the Journal’s story, which is based on anonymous sources familiar with the situation.
Bartz, currently Autodesk’s executive board chairman, served as the company’s chairman, president and CEO for 14 years, stepping down in April 2006.
While she was at the helm, Autodesk diversified its product line and saw its revenue rise from US$285 million to $1.523 billion, according to Autodesk’s corporate Web site.
Before joining Autodesk, she worked at Sun Microsystems, where she was vice president of worldwide field operations and an executive officer, and at Digital and 3M.
President George Bush appointed her to his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and she is on the boards of Intel, Cisco Systems, NetApp, and the Foundation for the National Medals of Science and Technology.
Her awards include being named as one of the 50 most powerful women in business by Fortune Magazine in 2005 and one of the world’s 30 most respected CEOs by Barron’s in 2005.
Bartz, who according to the Journal is 60 years old, will have her hands full as Yahoo CEO. The company has been in a technology and financial slump for several years. Multiple corporate shake-ups and reorganizations have failed to trigger a turnaround.
Yahoo has lagged behind large rivals like Google and small startups, unable to capitalize as much as it should have on many of the hottest Internet opportunities of recent years, like online video, search advertising, social networking and blogging.
There was much hope among industry observers when Yang, a Yahoo cofounder, took over as CEO from Terry Semel in mid-2007, but he failed to deliver on his goals to make Yahoo the preferred starting point for users, the preferred marketing vehicle for online advertisers and the preferred Web application platform for external developers.
His tenure included an unsolicited acquisition attempt by Microsoft, whose failure critics blamed on Yang and the Yahoo board. Later, a deal to let Yahoo run Google search ads collapsed after it became clear the U.S. government planned to challenge it due to antitrust concerns. The deal would have given Yahoo’s revenue a significant boost.
Yang’s CEO tenure also featured two big rounds of layoffs, an embarrassing exodus of high-profile managers, disappointing financials, a tanking stock price, free-falling employee morale and little or no advances in key areas, like search usage and search advertising.
He plans to remain on the Yahoo board and retain his Chief Yahoo title.