Wall Street may have given Carol Bartz’s ouster a thumbs up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean investors are completely confident in the Yahoo leadership that’s been left behind.
As CEO, responsibility for the Internet company’s poor performance over the past two and a half years certainly falls to her. But, as analysts and industry observers point out, it also falls to the people who put her in charge in the first place: many of the members on Yahoo’s board of directors.
“It’s not just a Carol issue,” said Evercore analyst Ken Sena. “Some of the frustration goes beyond her.”
Several of the board members who hired her are the same ones who turned down Microsoft’s bid to buy the company and are the same ones who hired the unsuccessful CEOs who preceded Bartz, he said (including Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, see below).
Others go so far as to say that the board has been so lax that it needs a change.
“Yahoo!’s board has generally been viewed as slow moving and more passive; any kind of shake-up here will suggest greater interest in value creation, in our view,” J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said in a note to clients.
So who’s who on Yahoo’s board? Take a look below.
Roy Bostock: A former advertising executive, Bostock joined the Yahoo board in 2003 and became chairman in 2008. He’s also on the board of Delta Airlines and has been on the boards of The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the Committee for Economic Development, a public policy group. Previously, he was an executive with D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and its successor company, the McManus Group. When rumors swirled about a hunt for Bartz’s replacement earlier this summer, Bostock spoke out in her defense. For turning down Microsoft’s offer and for sitting on the board during Yahoo’s decline, some—including All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher—have called for his removal as well.
Patti Hart: One of the more recent additions to Yahoo, Hart joined the board in June 2010. Since 2009, she’s been CEO of International Game Technology, a gaming machine manufacturer, and previously held executive positions with other tech companies, including Sprint and EarthLink.
Sue James: Another board member who joined after Bartz took over, James is known for her financial chops. Now retired, she was a longtime partner with the global accounting firm Ernst & Young, where she conducted audit work for several large tech companies, including Intel, Sun Microsystems, and Amazon. She also worked with Autodesk when Bartz was its CEO.
Vyomesh Joshi: Joshi joined Yahoo’s board in 2005, under the reign of former chairman and CEO Terry Semel. He joined Hewlett-Packard in 1980 and, since 2002, has been executive vice president of the imaging and printing group, driving significant profit growth.
David Kenny: The newest addition to Yahoo’s board, Kenny has also been floated as a potential Bartz successor. He joined the board in April 2011, when Eric Hippeau (who had been on the board since 1996) stepped down. The president of Akamai since September 2010, Kenny has held senior management positions in top-tier consulting and marketing companies, including VivaKi and Bain & Co. Given his background as CEO of Digitas (before it was acquired by Publicis Groupe), his is a valuable voice for Yahoo as it tries to rebuild relationships in the agency world.
Arthur Kern: A veteran Yahoo board member—he joined in January 1996—Kern has seen several CEOs come and go. Now listed by Yahoo as a private investor, he was a co-founder and CEO of American Media, a group owner of commercial radio stations that were sold to AMFM, which is now part of Clear Channel Communications. Kern is also on the board of Northwest Broadcasting and is a trustee for the Environmental Defense Fund. He also worked for Digitas in the 1990s.
Brad Smith: President and CEO of Intuit (maker of TurboTax), Smith has served on the Yahoo board since June 2010. Before joining Intuit in 2003, he held several executive positions at Automatic Data Processing.
Gary Wilson: A member of Yahoo’s board since 2001, Wilson can’t exactly plead innocent when it comes to the company’s decline. But should Yahoo pursue private equity options, his expertise should come in handy. Wilson has served as general partner of private equity firm Manhattan Pacific Partners since 2009. He also sat on the board of Northwest Airlines and held top positions at the Walt Disney Co. and Marriott Corp. Wilson is currently a director of real estate giant CB Richard Ellis Group and a trustee emeritus of Duke University.
Jerry Yang: Yahoo’s co-founder and chief Yahoo, Yang joined the board in 1995 and served as CEO from 2007 to 2009. While a Ph.D. student at Stanford University, he developed Yahoo with David Filo in 1994. He’s also a trustee of Stanford and, along with Bartz, sits on the board of Cisco. Yang is also on the boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group. It’s said that tough-talking Bartz was brought in as a reaction to the likable but less-decisive Yang.