It's official: Bartz becomes Yahoo CEO

Autodesk's executive chairman now has replaced Jerry Yang. Also: Yahoo President Sue Decker has departed.

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Stephen Shankland
4 min read
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Autodesk

Carol Bartz, Autodesk's former executive chairman, has replaced Jerry Yang as Yahoo's chief executive.

"She is the exact combination of seasoned technology executive and savvy leader that the board was looking for, and we are thrilled to have attracted such a world-class talent to Yahoo," Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock said in a statement Tuesday. "The board is united in its view that her energetic and decisive leadership style, coupled with a proven track record of driving growth, operational excellence and shareholder value, is exactly what Yahoo needs to get back on a path toward achieving its full potential."

Bartz, 60, spent 14 years as Autodesk's CEO before becoming executive chairman in 2006. At Yahoo, Bartz's challenges will include adapting from a successful but relatively unknown software company to a struggling media company whose Internet properties used by hundreds of millions of people.

In addition, Yahoo announced the departure of President Susan Decker.

"The Board thanks Sue for her service as President, the important contributions she has made to Yahoo!'s development in a variety of roles over the past 8-1/2 years, and her willingness to work with Carol Bartz to ensure a smooth transition. We respect her decision to move on to other challenges and wish her only the best," Bostock said in a statement.

Stay tuned to this post for more details as they come from a news conference at 2:30 p.m. PST. We'll be live-blogging the event.

2:22 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Good afternoon! We will be covering the Yahoo press conference on new CEO Carol Bartz when it kicks off.

2:22 p.m. Rafe Needleman: In related news, Yahoo announced that Sue Decker has resigned.

2:33 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Related: Ex-Yahoo executive Rosensweig joining Adobe board (per Marketwatch)

2:34 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Expect participation from Bartz, ex-CEO Jerry Yang, and Chairman Roy Bostock. Also, expect a lot of grand statements, such as Bartz's official statement in the press release: " Yahoo! is a powerful global brand with a great collection of assets, strong technology, and enormously talented employees. The Company has accomplished a great deal in its relatively short history and I look forward to working together to take it to the next level. There is no denying that Yahoo! has faced enormous challenges over the last year, but I believe there is now an extraordinary opportunity to create value for our shareholders and new possibilities for our customers, partners and employees. We will seize that opportunity."

2:35 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Spokesperson: "This is not a business update" about results and financials.

2:35 p.m. Stephen Shankland: For background on the challenges facing Bartz, and the generally warm reception she's receiving, check this earlier story.

2:36 p.m. Stephen Shankland: OK, Roy Bostock is starting up.

2:37 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Chairman Bostock: Bartz is a "seasoned and highly regarded technology executive..impeccable track record of leadership and success...people skills...decisive leadership style."

2:37 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Bostock on Bartz: "Proven track record on driving growth and shareholder value"

2:39 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Bostok: Bartz was only person to be offered the job

2:39 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bostock: Bartz "transformed struggling business into a world leader of CAD software" Revenues increased 5x, share price increased nearly 10x. Plus board experience on Cisco, Intel, NetApp. "Carol more than meets the criteria for the seach."

2:39 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bostock: Thanks to Yang for stepping into CEO role 18 months ago at board's behest. "unwavering enthusiasm and unique perspective"

2:40 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Bostock: "We are delighted Jerry will remain with the company... to assist Carol"

2:40 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Bartz's first word on press call: "Yahoo." (no exclamation)

2:41 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bartz: Yahoo has "powerful global brand, good cash flow, enormously talented employees. Value for shareholders. New possibilities for customers, partners, employees."

2:42 p.m. Stephen Shankland: But Bartz is gonna stay mum on search deal and other strategic options.

2:42 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bartz: "My focus is on turning the company around and creating opportunities for employees and customers and creating value for shareholders. I would not be here if I thought these objectives were not achievable."

2:43 p.m. Rafe Needleman: "I'm eager to roll up my sleeves and get started...I feel honored to take on this responsibility."

2:43 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bostock reiterates his pleasure. Now for brief Q&A.

2:43 p.m. Rafe Needleman: No new news here--plans, directions, Microsoft. No surprise on that front.

2:44 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Ben Schacter from UBS: What were key factors into decision to take the role? And what do you bring to the party?

2:45 p.m. Stephen Shankland: She said she was approached in December. Yahoo board decisive, she said.

2:45 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Bartz: "Yahoo...a company with great assets that frankly could use a little management."

2:46 p.m. Stephen Shankland: She says lack of media experience is nonsense. "I didn't know CAD when I joined Autodesk, I didn't knew hardware when I joined Sun. I have brain power to understand what it takes."

2:48 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Mark Mahaney: How long for due diligence, exploring options?

2:50 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Bartz: "I'm having my first manager meeting in 10 minutes. I can't give you a timeline. I'm very good at listening, digging around, finding out what's going on. I don't expect it'll take an extraordinary amount of time, but this is a big company. Let's not put ourselves in some crazy timeline. Let's give this company some frigging breathing room. Everybody on outside deciding what Yahoo should or shouldn't do--that's going to stop."

2:51 p.m. Stephen Shankland: That's it. I guess Yahoo wanted to keep her from saying too much. Stay tuned for earnings on January 27.

2:52 p.m. Stephen Shankland: Thanks for tuning in.

2:52 p.m. Rafe Needleman: Thanks all!