Reports Tuesday night have Carol Bartz out as Yahoo's CEO. The news ends a tumultuous 30-month reign for the former Autodesk CEO. Her severance package is $10.4 million, according to Bloomberg news.
Bartz confirmed the news to her staff at 4:20 p.m. Tuesday:
“To all, I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish only the best going forward."
Prior to the official word, our Yahoo sources told us that Bartz's tenure as Yahoo chief was coming to an end.
Bartz, who had far more success in her previous job as Autodesk CEO, struggled to turn Yahoo around. Few people will say it's her fault that Yahoo is where it is today (way behind Google and Facebook in hipness and profitability), but many people are frustrated that she was unable to turn things around.
Bartz took over after Yahoo may have been at its lowest point. Shareholders were angry that the company had turned down overtures from Microsoft, who knows ironically runs Yahoo's search thanks in part to a deal Bartz brokered.
And by "many people," we mean investors. Yahoo (YHOO) shares have barely moved since Bartz took over, and while its web traffic remains huge, the company cannot seem to turn all those visitors and eyeballs into the kind of profits befitting such traffic.
Bartz came in under admittedly tough circumstances - the company had just rebuffed a big takeover offer from Microsoft - and again, her leadership qualities are already proven. But she was brought in to raise Yahoo's profile and fortunes, and that just didn't happen. Now, the company is said to be takeover bait yet again, and, according to All Things Digital, Yahoo CFO Tim Morse is said to be Interim CEO.
Bartz is one of the most powerful women in the country. Forbes just listed her at No. 37 on the list of most powerful women in technology.
President Barack Obama saw her as a key player. If you remember she was one of the Silicon Valley executives the president invited to dinner earlier this year. The list also included Apple's Steve Jobs, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle's d Larry Ellison, Cisco's CEO John Chambers, and Google's Eric Schmidt. Bartz was the only woman, other than the host's wife, at the table.
Scott can be reached on Twitter: @scottbudman