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Bartz's behavior proves firing her was right move

Posted by Rob Anderson  September 9, 2011 02:29 PM

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Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has a right to be angry that she was fired over the phone on Tuesday by the company’s chairman. She even is entitled to think that it is worth forfeiting the $10 million in her non-disparagement clause to go around giving interviews stating that Yahoo’s board was composed of “doofuses.” But it does not mean such selfish behavior was appropriate or in her best interest, let alone those of Yahoo’s shareholders and employees.

Although Bartz claims that she “would never abandon [Yahoo’s employees],” her fit of pique seems to have led to just that result. Bartz currently has a seat on the board, which she will be forced to give up. While she could have perhaps negotiated an opportunity to keep her seat, she lost of all her leverage by sending an email to all of Yahoo’s 14,000 employees stating that she was fired. If she hadn't, she could have stayed on to advocate for her views.

By spouting off and becoming the Howard Beale of corporate America, Bartz forfeited the opportunity to wield any future influence on Yahoo. There will be no transition, just an absolute and abrupt change of power. But this may be for the best. After all, the ultimate verdict on Bartz’s tenure may have been rendered by the stock market Wednesday morning when Yahoo’s stock shot up 7 percent. It reinforces that while Bartz’s judgment in complaining about her treatment by Yahoo is debatable, Yahoo’s judgment in terminating her was correct.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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