"Most people assume that because I’m a woman, I’m someone who’s standing behind a leader, a man." But she adds, "The fact that they’re unenlightened is their problem, not mine."
Carol Bartz is an aggressive, outspoken, bold, self-made and self -confident visionary woman entrepreneur with straightforward approach for problem solving and high experience of reshaping sinking companies and getting them on track using a combination of different strategies. Carol Bartz took up the reins as CEO of Yahoo Inc replacing Jerry Yang, a co-founder of the company, on January 13, 2009 and continued her tough fight to reshape the company until September 11, 2011; for nearly two and half years till she was fired by the board. Yahoo faced multiple challenges long before Mrs. Bartz arrived in January 2009 as the third CEO in three years. Investors became dissatisfied with the stagnant growth and indirection under its previous chief, Jerry Yang. Mrs. Bartz rendered her services to Yahoo at a very critical time of transition in the company’s history and a very challenging macro-economic downturn.
Mrs. Bartz took few tough calls during her tenure to create revenue for the company including tedious restructuring of the company by overhauling some credit, massive layoffs etc. and Yahoo! had a huge problem of all kinds of internal documents getting out to the press. So, Bartz was just explaining that it was a bad thing to do in her own way, and she supports her approach by saying “If I found out who was leaking this, I had just drop kick you to Mars. You have to have some passion. What am I going to say? "Oh, please do not ... ” You think my employees would remember it? No. Did I do it because of that? No. I did it because at the moment I got myself all riled up.“
Bartz always led with consumer-based vision, in this context she said: "Who wants innovation for innovation’s sake if it doesn’t make your life easier, more efficient, and more productive? So, expect us to hear you better and take better care of you." Bartz continued her turnaround progress amidst of investors’ scrutiny. She managed to double the operating income, operating margins, and earnings per share, because of which the revenues of $1bn were reported in 2010. However, she could not boost up the revenues of the company, which remained constant at $6.3billion. The stock price of Yahoo was almost flat, even though the stock index reported a growth of 60%. Bartz built Yahoo into a digital media company in top twelve ranked firms in U.S and eighth in the world with approximately 700mn audience. She planned to focus primarily on online display advertising business to grow its revenues. Under the leadership of Bartz Yahoo was also interested in acquiring television video site named Hulu (currently owned by Walt Disney, News Corp and Comcast). Revenue has been largely flat in recent years, and a 10-year search-advertising partnership Bartz struck with Microsoft Corp. has not been successful so far. Mrs. Bartz’s relationship with Alibaba, in which Yahoo owns a 40% stake worth billions of dollars, has been strained. Some outsiders have viewed Yahoo as a potential takeover target. High-level executives have left.
At her departure from Yahoo one year prior to her contract, Carol underscores that the reason for unsuccessful war of turnaround of Yahoo is due to the Internet industry that has tremendously reorganized itself and how difficult it has been for a first-generation Web company to repel younger competitors. Yahoo was a product of late 1990’s dot-com boom. It was also a top gun search engine of early last decade. In recent years, Yahoo lost ground to Google Inc. and social-network firm Face book Inc. Both are taking away market share in selling online graphical and video ads, a market in which Yahoo previously shone. The number of minutes that U.S. website visitors spend on Yahoo sites per month has dropped 33% since Mrs. Bartz’s arrival 2 1/2 years ago.
Bartz was shown the exit door from Yahoo on September 11, 2011, as she compounded long-term issues and frustrated fellow board members through wrong moves that included mismanaging Yahoo’s U.S. ad-sales arm and failing to introduce innovative Web services, and at times did not appear to have a solid grasp of parts of Yahoo’s business. Yahoo’s board concluded that it had given Mrs. Bartz enough time and that a change in leadership was needed and Tim Morse was made an interim CEO of the company.
This is the note Bartz just sent out to Yahoo employees and confirmed her own firing by a message from her iPad.
“I am very sad to tell you that Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board has just fired me over the phone. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward”.
This shows her openness and fair play. Even though she left the company for good, she still wanted the growth of the company and its employees. This concern of her takes her to level 5 leadership and is always exemplary for upcoming entrepreneurs.
Carol Bartz- the world’s most overpaid CEO
When Yahoo hired Bartz in early 2009, she was paid an annual base salary of $1 million. She was eligible for an annual 400% bonus and received 5,000,000 shares in addition to an equity grant of $18 million of stock.
Despite having been unceremoniously shown the door with a curt phone call, Carol Bartz enjoyed what can only be described as a golden goodbye from Yahoo. Bartz walked away from Yahoo with $3 mn in cash, plus a partial bonus for 2011 that will be valued between $1 mn to $2 mn.
Even before she was fired, public filings show that for 2009 alone, Bartz was rewarded with a not inconsequential $47.2 m in compensation. Bartz had been Yahoo’s CEO since 2009, making her tenure a brief one, and was named in 2010 as the world’s most overpaid CEO.
After finishing her Bachelors in computer science, Bartz joined in 3M in 1972, as the only women employee in a division of 300 men. After facing repeated acts of discrimination and denial of the company to approve her transfer request to the head quarters, she resigned and quit the company in 1976. She left not because of her defeat to face the situations, but she was confident that she was capable of accomplishing bigger and better things and if 3M was not offering her growth opportunities there was no point in staying there, instead she would find them elsewhere.
From 1983 to April 1992, Bartz held a number of key positions at Sun Microsystems, Inc., a provider of computer systems, software and services (now a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation), including as Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations and as an executive officer.
In 1992, at age 43, Bartz took the position of CEO for Autodesk, Inc., a moderate-sized computer-aided software design company with average earnings of $285 million. In 1993, Bartz purchased Autodesk from founder Carl Bass, whom she fired shortly thereafter. Later she realized that Bass was an integral part of the business and she quickly rehired him. Carol Bartz was executive chairperson of the board of Autodesk, Inc and she served various positions as Chairman, President, and CEO of Autodesk for a long impressive tenure of 14 years and stepped down in April 2006. During her tenure, the company diversified its product line and grew revenues from $285 million to $1.523 billion in FY06. When Bartz joined Autodesk 1992, the company had an excellent brand, but 99 percent of its revenue came from just one product, AutoCAD. Now, sixty percent of Autodesk’s business comes from products other than AutoCAD. The company’s products are offered in 19 languages and are sold in 170 countries around the globe. On January 13, 2009, Carol Bartz was named CEO of Yahoo, succeeding outgoing CEO & Founder Jerry Yang, and she held this position until September 6, 2011.
More about Carol Bartz
Born :August 29, 1948 (age 68)
Winona, Minnesota, U.S.
Residence :Atherton, CA
Country of Citizenship : United States
Alma mater : Bachelors in Computer Science
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Occupation :Former CEO of Yahoo, Inc
Marital Status :Married
Children : Three
Carol Bartz, a self-made leader, was born on August 29, 1948 in Winona, Minnesota. Bartz had a very tough childhood as her mother passed away with some chronic disease, when she was only eight years old. For the consecutive four years, she was overburdened with the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother Jim, at a very tender age. Every day she used to drop him at the Day care on her way to elementary school and pick him on her way back to home. Her father was so ill equipped, that he was not able to raise his family alone. Moreover, he acted very harsh and often used a belt to maintain discipline in children.
At the age of 12yrs, Bartz was free from responsibility of her brother, as her grandmother, Alice Schwartz ,who is 92 and still alive, and most influential person for Bartz, raised both of them with loving care and good guidance, which they were longing for, since the death of their mother.
Bartz was a very outgoing child from her high school days. Right from the high school days, she broke the barriers of genders and was one of the two girls who took physics and advanced algebra classes in her school. During her high school, she was made homecoming queen and was a majorette. Bartz worked at a bank as a secretary to support herself, while she was still in high school. She made her way up until Bank teller, earning 75cents per hour. She was an outstanding worker who earned the favor and respect of her managers. Later these people identified her potential and helped her to get a scholarship to attend William Woods, an elite all-girls college in Fulton, Missouri. In addition to the scholarship, she also worked in college cafeteria, which was a very humble experience as most of her classmates were from affluent families. She continued her education at the University of Wisconsin, while working as a cocktail waitress. She programmed her first computer in 1968, while majoring in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a Bachelors degree in Computer Science in 1971. All her childhood and teens taught her lessons of hard work and rising through tough situations by strong will power and commitment. Bartz married Bill Marr and together they later had three children. She was a survivor of breast cancer. A few days before Bartz began as CEO of Autodesk, when she was 43, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She delayed treatment for one month and only took only one month off to undergo and recovery from a mastectomy and Trans flap surgery. She worked through the entire seven months of her brutal chemotherapy. The small-town girl from Minnesota says her go-to stress relievers are gardening and golf, and confides that she is currently addicted to video game Angry Birds.
Throughout her life, she has faced multiple personal and professional challenges including blatant gender discrimination. But, she refuses to play the role of victim and give in to circumstances. By sheer will and determination, Bartz began shaping her life’s path from an early age. She has taken the business world by surprise and force. A self-made woman entrepreneur, Bartz is still breaking barriers today even as she enters into her 60s.
The Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s views on work–life balance for women
Mrs. Bartz 60 yrs old, mother of a college-age daughter, speaks about her personal sacrifices and tradeoff’s she made to pursue a high-powered career and family juggle. She says that daily work/life “balance” is a myth that can only lead to counterproductive guilt for working moms.
Women put a lot of pressure on themselves, she said. “They think, I am going to cook a great breakfast, wash up the dishes before I leave, take the kids to school, call my college roommate on my way in to work, be a CEO all day, volunteer on the way home, do a little exercising, cook a wonderful dinner, help with homework, have sex. I don’t think so,” she said in the interview with “More.” Working parents should take a longer-term view, focusing on doing one thing well at a time, instead of seeking the perfection of a daily balance. Although she tried to make Autodesk supportive of working families by shutting the company down for a week in winter and taking off five weeks of vacation herself. According to the “More” profile, her larger goal is to get women to change their thinking- to try not to feel guilty for not being able to do everything 100%. Women “beat themselves up for not doing it all, and they get mad at everyone around them. That’s nuts,” she said in the “More” profile.
She definitely sacrificed family time: When her daughter was an infant, she would spend four days of the week working in California, while her family was back in Dallas. “For four days, I got to use my mind, I got to sleep, and I got to have a real career. I had the best of both worlds,” she told “More.” “It was awesome for me, and I don’t think my daughter is any the worse for it.”
When her daughter got older, mother and daughter would gather around a calendar at the beginning of each school year, and Ms. Bartz would mark a handful of commitments, such as a Halloween party and a Christmas pageant that she wouldn’t miss, according to the “More” profile.
“I’d tell her, ‘These are the times Mommy will be here. Anything else will be a surprise,’” she said to “More.” “So she was surprised when I showed up, instead of depressed that I wasn’t at everything. She learned about schedules, she learned about commitments, and I did get to enjoy some of the school times.”
Memberships and Honoraries
Appointed to President Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Bartz is one of a select group of industry leaders expected to play a key role in shaping and setting the government’s high tech agenda ranging from R&D funding to new broadband incentives. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, NetApp and the Foundation for the National Medals of Science and Technology.
Bartz holds an honors degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin. She was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from William Woods University.
Inspiring Interview responses by Carol Bartz
Q. Did you ever have problems with self-esteem? How do you deal with it?
Sure. I still do. I would consider it more as self-confidence than as self-esteem. I think a bit of low self-confidence is healthy because it keeps you on your toes; it keeps you trying to do better; it keeps you trying to improve yourself and in many ways. I think where a lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem gets debilitating is when people start thinking that they cannot be good at anything. And that everybody is somehow better, everybody is talking about him or her. I don’t recall that part personally.
Moreover, perhaps it was because I came from a small environment where I do not recall that much of that going on. “I think a bit of low self-confidence is healthy because it keeps you on your toes; it keeps you trying to do better; it keeps you trying to improve yourself and in a lot of ways”.
Q. Is it OK to fail?
Oh! You must fail! You must fail. If you don’t fail, you don’t know the degrees of success. It’s like, say, skiing. You have to fall down to learn how to be a better skier. I happen to be a big gardener, and if you do not kill a lot of plants along the way, you don’t know how to garden. (It’s the same) if you don’t have failures in school, in business. I’ll give you an example.
I graduated with an A+ average in high school, so I thought I was pretty big stuff. And I went to college, and my first exam in Honors History, I got a D. I had never gotten a D. I think I had gotten one B in my life. And I had gotten a D on this first exam.
I could not believe it. I didn’t know what went wrong. It was one essay question. Obviously, I didn’t know how to do a one-essay question test, and I blew it. And it really made me sit back and say: ’Oh, my gosh. There’s always a possibility of not doing well here. So, I better concentrate a little bit more. ‘I think failure’s a very important part of life’. “Oh! You must fail! You must fail. If you don’t fail, you don’t know the degrees of success”.
Q. In an article about you in 1983 in the paper, you talked about working and dealing with your family, and the headline said that you said you can’t do both. There were then letters to the editor in the paper that took you to task. Did you feel you were misinterpreted?
Precisely. In fact, I didn’t say I can’t do both. I was extremely misinterpreted. What I said and I still believe and talk about frequently, is the subject of balance.
Where I disagree with the concept of balance is, balance in itself connotes perfection, which means that every day, I have to be a very great CEO, a great mom, a great public citizen. I should do some volunteer work, and I should call all my friends and should call my grandmother. Maybe I should bake some cookies. So, everyday I should be perfect at all of these things. That doesn’t work.
That puts too much strain on all of us. There are days when I have to be fully attentive to my business . . . and my family gets maybe 20 percent of me; if I’m traveling, it gets none of me. And there are other times, when it is all family.
“The whole concept of balance is, as I say, catching things before they hit the floor. If I’m working on a big project at work, (there comes a time when) it’s time to go home and not think about work for a while”.
Q. Do you think that’s equally true for men?
I think it should be. But, having said that, I think women have more of a burden on them to manage the houses, and manage the children, and manage the school interface. And so they take, they end up having more responsibility. And I think, feeling as though, therefore, they must handle all these things simultaneously.
While I will not deny that daily pressure exists -- I mean, I want to see my daughter every day, just as much as the next person does -- but it’s important to set the right expectations for her, and the right expectations, by the way, on the business side. There are events at her school I wouldn’t dream of missing. I don’t care if the largest customer and the Pope came to visit AutoDesk; I’d be with my daughter.
“There are events at her school I wouldn’t dream of missing. I don’t care if the largest customer and the Pope came to visit AutoDesk; I’d be with my daughter”.
Q. What have you learned from working with people through your business life that no school could have taught you?
You learn relationships and you learn process throughout your whole life. And I just happen now to have lived as much of my life beyond school as I did in school. So, I just have more experience. I think as much as anything that’s what it is.
You learn and you have to learn once you get through school that you have to take care of yourself. In school, you’re more nurtured. People, your parents, your teachers, are there to help you succeed. When you get out in the business life, frankly, you have to run your own safety net.
“I love people relationships. I love the fast pace. I love the high-tech process of having to make a lot of decisions and getting pretty quick feedback from the market”.
Q. How do you think technology has changed education.
Well, I think one of the important things it's done is the content side, what’s available for students to see. For instance, when my daughter was studying caterpillars to butterflies, they actually did it watching a CD and watching the technology evolve and they were actually doing some Hypertext indexing. It was just fun. So, they were using technology to visualize a process that would be much harder to understand if you just saw a series of pictures. But you could literally see the butterfly exploding from the cocoon, and that’s very powerful. And without the technology, it’s a flatter, deader concept. So, the content, I think, is the biggest play. I think that the wired world’s going to be the next biggest play for school. The fact that -- I’m less impressed that a student can actually do their term paper using a word processing format -- well, that’s great. But I don’t think that necessarily helped education. But, the content and the fact that they can be wired into the greater world, I think is going to have a big impact.
“We all will have available at our fingertips a lot more information and a lot more, easier ability to connect with people. The downside of that, of course, is it can be very overwhelming. And I think might cause continued confusion in life”.