Yahoo’s Bartz Stung by Firing, Then Stings Back


The news of the day in the business world is the firing of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz. Her termination, reportedly done over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board Roy Bostock, elicited a terse and honest e-mail from Bartz, reading: “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 you only the best going forward.”

The Washington Post's Jena McGregor writes a thoughtful analysis of the firing and e-mail in the PostLeadership blog. Bartz's firing brings up issues like CEO candor and gender (Bartz was one of the few high-ranking women in tech, says McGregor), but internal communications also bubbles to the surface. What does this e-mail mean for the 13,000 employees of Yahoo?

They no doubt already have morale issues because the company has struggled mightily. This can lead to more doubt about the company on their part. Should Bartz have been stopped from sending out a blanket note to thousands of employees? What can Yahoo do internally to negate the Bartz statement?


4 Comments



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  • Tom Smith

    We live in an age of transparency. Bartz shouldn’t be stopped from sending an email. Yahoo needs to rethink how they treat their employees. Corporate culture starts at the top and your can’t go any higher than the board of directors. What is the BOD going to do?

    I suggest they engage Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Delivering Happiness as a consultant.

  • Kevin A

    I fail to see anything “Terse” about that simple two sentence goodby. There is nothing that Yahoo exec’s need to absolutly respond to, as it is not negative or shine poorly on the company – other thatn the timing of letting her go was abrupt & not in person. That is how they truthfully chose to operate. Bartzs’ message to her former employees was honest and tactful, nothing more.

  • Ryan M

    This is poor decision making by the Chairman and the Board. Go ahead and fire the CEO, but be prepared to get out in front of the issue and communicate it to the stakeholders – perhaps as you’re making the call, if you choose to be so brash and dismiss over the phone, but don’t let someone else set the tone for such a big piece of news.

  • Ryan M

    This is poor decision making by the Chairman and the Board. Go ahead and fire the CEO, but be prepared to get out in front of the issue and communicate it to the stakeholders – perhaps as you’re making the call, if you choose to be so brash and dismiss over the phone, but don’t let someone else set the tone for such a big piece of news.