Yahoo Shares Dip After Call for Bartz Resignation

Investor says ‘lame duck CEO’ is last thing company needs

Is uncertainty in the C-suite taking its toll on Yahoo shares?

The day after an investor called for CEO Carol Bartz to resign at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Yahoo's stock price took a slight dip, opening at $15.10 but then slipping to $14.96 by late morning.

Despite rumors that the Yahoo board is secretly looking for a new CEO, Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock said the board supports Bartz and believes she is taking the company in the right direction.

“I want to make it very clear about that support,” he said. “We are confident that Yahoo is headed in the right direction and the end results will be good for all of us as shareholders.”

But investors may not agree.

Toward the end of the meeting, Steve Landry, a personal investor and advisor, said he wanted to address the “elephant in the room.”

“Out of disbelief and frustration, I think it’s time to speak up and demand some change,” he said.

Referencing this week’s TechCrunch report about the stealth search for a Bartz replacement, Landry said he had heard similar details and believed the search was on despite Bostock’s verbal support of the current CEO.

“The last thing Yahoo needs right now is a lame duck CEO,” he said. “The buyout talks for your contract, I believe, need to start today and a search needs to be accelerated.”

Landry also weighed in on reports that News Corp. executive and former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is a potential CEO candidate. 

“He’s not the answer for this company,” he said.

While he had mostly harsh words for Yahoo’s top executive, he did say that recent key hires, particularly executive vice president Ross Levinsohn and chief product officer Blake Irving, were “encouraging.”

But he said the company cannot afford another “exodus of talent,” which he believes will happen if Bartz finishes her contract or the wrong successor is appointed.

“No more excuses, no more victory laps,” he said.

In reply, Bartz thanked him for his opinion, but added, “That was certainly a downer.”

“We are working very hard in this company and managing our assets and you will see the benefit of that,” she said.