Yahoo’s New CEO: No Media Experience, No Problem

On her inaugural day on the job, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz sized up her new employer as a company “with great assets that could use a little management.”

And she expects to bring that to Yahoo. “I love leading. I love managing and making decisions,” she said during a call with media and analysts before heading off to her first manager’s meeting.

Bartz, chief executive of Autodesk from 1992 to 2006, was announced late yesterday as Yahoo’s choice to replace outgoing CEO Jerry Yang. President Sue Decker, who was a contender for the post, will resign from the company after a transition period.

Bartz was asked how her technology background will play out at a company in the media business.

“Media versus technology, that’s a lot of nonsense,” she replied. “I’m a technology person. I’m a market-driven person. I love customers. I suspect I have a little brain power to learn to understand media. I suspect there are fantastic people here in the company and on the board [of directors] who can jumpstart my education.”

Bartz said it’s too early to discuss Yahoo’s future, including whether it should do a search deal, divest any businesses, or cut costs. And she won’t be drawing any conclusions until she talks to Yahoo’s employees.

bartzyahoo.jpg“This is a big complex company with a lot of people doing important jobs. I need to give them a chance to tell me their ideas…dreams and issues,” she said. “Let the process evolve. Let’s give this company some friggin’ breathing room. Everyone on the outside’s been deciding what it should and shouldn’t do. That’s going to stop.”

At no time during the news conference did Bartz refer to or mention Yahoo’s competitors, Google and Microsoft.

“She’s one tough cookie,” said one Silicon Valley marketing executive familiar with Autodesk, who doesn’t know Baratz personally. How tough? “Do it my way or the highway,” the marketer said.

Meanwhile, industry pundits debated what Yahoo’s future holds with Bartz at its helm.

At least one said she’ll have to decide whether to invest more in Yahoo’s search technology or to sell Yahoo to Microsoft — and that she’s got the background to do either since she has roots in technology and has had business dealings at Autodesk with Microsoft.

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