Yahoo's new CEO finds plenty on her plate

It didn't take Carol Bartz long to let everyone know she means business as Yahoo's yhoo new CEO.

Just a few minutes after being introduced at a hastily arranged conference call, the self-described straight shooter told analysts she intends to ensure Yahoo gets "some friggin' breathing room" so the company can "kick some butt."

"I see this as a company with enormous assets that frankly could use a little management," Bartz, who was tapped Tuesday, said in a conference call that day before she rushed off to her first meeting with Yahoo's top managers. (Bartz is not granting interviews until she assesses Yahoo's situation, company spokesman Brad Williams said.)

The former Autodesk adsk CEO has plenty on her plate. The scuffling Internet company has been flogged by Google goog in the market for online ads, depressing its financial results and stock the past few years. Meanwhile, it was unable to pull the trigger on blockbuster deals with Microsoft msft and Google.

Analysts and Yahoo's board say she is the right woman for the job. Yahoo desperately needs someone with Bartz's decisive, laserlike focus and determination to whip it into shape, says Forrester Research analyst David Card.

Bartz "is the exact combination of seasoned technology executive and savvy leader that the board was looking for," said Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock. He said Bartz was the only one offered the job.

Wall Street agrees with Yahoo's choice. Yahoo shares rose 2.6%, to $12.41, in trading Wednesday.

In many ways, Bartz, 60, is the antithesis of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, a genial manager who surrendered the CEO reins last year after potentially lucrative deals with rivals Microsoft and Google collapsed.

Bartz could renew talks with Microsoft to acquire Yahoo's search operations so Microsoft can challenge Google. Microsoft has been reluctant to deal with Yang since he rejected several takeover bids, including one for $47.5 billion. A separate search deal with Google collapsed after antitrust regulators threatened to block the deal.

Bartz isn't afraid of taking bold actions. Within six months of taking over then-foundering Autodesk in 1992, she purged its management ranks. The company faced a shareholder revolt out of fear it relied too much on a software product for revenue. By the time she left, in 2006, Autodesk's annual revenue grew five times, to $1.5 billion.

"She made it very clear what the company's mission was, and how to achieve it," said Nilofer Merchant, a former Autodesk manager who is now CEO of tech consultant Rubicon. "The company's goals will be tattooed on everyone's forehead."

Despite Bartz's lengthy résumé, she is likely to face questions about her lack of experience in advertising, the primary source of Yahoo's revenue.

Bartz scoffed at such concerns Tuesday. "I suspect I have the brainpower to understand media," she said. "I also suspect there are people here that can help jump-start my education."

At least one analyst agrees. "She doesn't have media or Internet experience, but she has excellent CEO experience — and that trumps all," said Mark Mahaney, an analyst at Citi Investment Research.

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