Bartz revamps Yahoo to get faster, simpler

Yahoo's new CEO is overhauling the Internet pioneer's management structure to be faster and more responsive to those who use its site. CFO Blake Jorgensen is out.

New Chief Executive Carol Bartz has reorganized Yahoo in an attempt to make the Internet pioneer faster, simpler, and more responsive to those who use its services.

"Today I'm rolling out a new management structure that I believe will make Yahoo a lot faster on its feet," Bartz said in a blog post Thursday. Specifically, Yahoo is getting rid of some fiefdoms and setting up a group to pay more attention to customers.

"For us working at Yahoo, it means everything gets simpler. We'll be able to make speedier decisions, the notorious silos are gone, and we have a renewed focus on the customer," Bartz said. "For you using Yahoo every day, it will better enable us to deliver products that make you say, 'Wow.'"

In one change, Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen will leave the company as soon as a replacement is found, Yahoo said.

The move is the first major one since Bartz took over the CEO role from co-founder Jerry Yang in January . The company has been struggling to become more competitive and profitable for years, and now faces that challenge during a very difficult economy.

Update 10:14 a.m. PST: "The company has initiated a search for a new chief financial officer. Mr. Jorgensen will remain with the company as its chief financial officer through a transition period," Yahoo said in a regulatory filing. Further details on the reorganization weren't immediately clear.

Yahoo has undergone plenty of reorganizations and executive turmoil in the past year, not to mention two major layoffs, but this time the changes are being driven by an assertive new CEO who brings fresh eyes to the challenge. And Bartz has no trouble expressing frustration with the molasses-like pace of change at Yahoo.

"People here have impressed the hell out of me. They're smart, dedicated, passionate, driven, and really nice. There's so much great energy and frankly lots of optimism. But there's also plenty that has bogged this company down. For starters, you'd be amazed at how complicated some things are here," she said in the blog posting.

To try to make sure Yahoo personnel listen to outsiders as well as themselves, Bartz established a new customer advocacy group.

"I've noticed that a lot of us on the inside don't spend enough time looking to the outside. That's why I'm creating a new customer advocacy group. After getting a lot of angry calls at my office from frustrated customers, I realized we could do a better job of listening to and supporting you," she said.

Bartz also wants to buff Yahoo's brand.

"Mention Yahoo practically anywhere in the world, and people yodel. But in the past few years, we haven't been as clear in showing the world what the Yahoo brand stands for. We're going to change that. Look for this company's brand to kick ass again," Bartz said.

Update 10:47 a.m. PST: Now we have some details on the changes. One interesting nugget: Yahoo said nobody is leaving the company beyond already announced departures including Marco Boerries , who led mobile and TV work, and Neeraj Khemlani , who led news, and Jorgensen.

Here are more details:

• Yahoo will merge product and technology work into one group led by Ari Balogh, who adds executive vice president of products to his chief technology officer title. His group is "responsible for the vision, strategy, and quality" of all Yahoo's products globally. He reports to Bartz.

• For delivering those products, along with Yahoo's content and services, Yahoo has two groups: North America and International. Hilary Schneider leads the North American group, and a leader for the international group "will be hired soon," Yahoo said. These leaders report to Bartz. Previously, Yahoo had separate groups for North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and emerging markets.

• Yahoo hired Elisa Steele, formerly Network Appliance's senior vice president of corporate marketing, to fill a new post of chief marketing officer.

Update 11:03 a.m. PST: Here are some more details:

Ashish Patel, who formerly led products work, now is leader of the product architecture and evangelist group, reporting to Balogh. "His group will focus on mapping out and determining our overall product strategy, architecture, and portfolio," Yahoo said.

• David Ko moves a step up the pecking order by taking over the mobile group and reporting to Schneider. Boerries previously led this area. "Mobile will continue to be a key priority for Yahoo," the company said.

• David Dibble, hired in December and most recently chief technology officer at First Data Corp., leads the new service engineering and operations team responsible for Yahoo's computing infrastructure. He reports to Bartz.

• Yahoo still is looking for a person to lead the customer advocacy group. That group will help Yahoo hear what its two big constituents--site users and advertisers--have to say. This executive will report to Bartz.

• David Windley leads human resources, Michael Callahan leads the legal group, and Joel Jones is Bartz's chief of staff.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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