09/07/11 Yahoo’s Carol Bartz out as CEO

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The ax has swung. Carol Bartz is out as Yahoo CEO, ending a fraught tenure that culminated in months of speculation about when she would be ousted.

Yahoo announced the shakeup late Tuesday, and named Tim Morse, the company’s chief financial officer, as its interim CEO.

“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,” Bartz wrote in an all-staff email that went out late Tuesday. “It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.”

An extra flourish: Bartz’s departing missive was “Sent from my iPad,” according to the email signature.

Investors liked the news: Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) shares rose up to 8% in premarket trading, before backing off slightly Wednesday morning. All Things D’s Kara Swisher first reported on Bartz’s departure Tuesday.

To classify the Bartz era as rocky is an understatement. She promised a turnaround at Yahoo, a pivot that would pull the company out of its funk — no easy task, considering its falling ad revenue and stodgy Internet portal reputation.

But the phoenix-like rise never came, and in recent months Yahoo was getting pummeled from all sides by investors, analysts and bloggers.

The frustration came to a head at Yahoo’s annual shareholder day in June. Bartz tried to focus on victories like cost-cutting and high traffic during the royal wedding and Japanese tsunami.

But stockholders weren’t having any of it. They slammed Yahoo not only for its slumping stock price and a slew of departing executives, but also for its loss of display ad market share to newer rivals in the space — namely Facebook and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500).

One shareholder attacked Bartz specifically, and he didn’t hold back: “I want to address what we’ve seen in blogs, that the board is talking to other CEOs. … Yahoo cannot afford another exodus of talent, and I think this is likely if Carol remains for the duration of her contract.”

After the meeting, the board took pains to express its “full confidence” in Bartz as Yahoo’s CEO. That confidence appears to have dissipated less than three months later.

As with all stories, though, Bartz’s wasn’t all bad. She garnered praise for aggressive cost-cutting and for landing a deal with Microsoft’s (MSFT, Fortune 500) Bing search engine.

Bartz’s appointment to the CEO post ended another tumultuous reign. She took the helm from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who was the company’s CEO until 2008. Yang stepped down amid shareholder anger after Yahoo snubbed a $47.5 billion buyout deal from Microsoft.

CNNMoneyTech – Julianne Pepitone

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