Yahoo!'s New CEO Should Prioritize Her Operational Savvy

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

Yahoo! announced today that Carol Bartz would become its new CEO effective immediately.  Read the press release here.  For some of the history leading up to this announcement read my past posts and those of my colleague David Card.

I'm not directly familiar with Carol's professional expertise, so I can't weigh in on if she is the right fit for Yahoo!.  But, from what Yahoo! is saying, it picked her for all the right reasons.  Right now, they need a CEO who can:

  • Provide operational experience.  Over the last few years, Yahoo! has cobbled together an impressive assortment of advertising technologies and social media properties (Flickr, The Right Media Exchange, Blue Lithium), and has developed smart proprietary technologies as well (BOSS, APT, Open Social).  But so far, Yahoo! has struggled to pull all of its properties into a solution that is more useful to consumers, and more valuable to advertisers than its competitors'. 

    I think Yahoo's new CEO's number one priority should be creating synergies across all of these currently-diverse capabilities in order to create internal efficiencies, more compelling offerings to advertisers, and an integrated ad sales process.

  • Focus on advertising and social media.  I still believe that Yahoo! is wrong to keep chasing Google in the search marketing business.  Google already has that race won and there is plenty of business for second place Yahoo!.  I'd like to see Yahoo!'s new CEO focus on display media and social media -- two places where Yahoo! still leads Google (and there is ample marketer opportunity).
  • Be open and discerning about strategic options.  I don't think Yahoo! put Bartz in place just to figure out how to best sell it or its parts.  But I also don't think Bartz will/should dismiss a sale as a possible smart move for Yahoo!.  I see Bartz's goal as create and actualize a clear and urgent vision for Yahoo! and I would expect/hope her to be open to a number of ways to do this, which could include selling.