订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

挥别巴茨时代,雅虎困境依旧

Miguel Helft 2011年09月09日

外界一向批评雅虎董事会谨小慎微、效率低下,因此,这次董事会解雇首席执行官巴茨堪称不同寻常的大胆之举。然而,在巴茨主政雅虎两年半之后,雅虎现在所面临的问题,仍然和两年半之前大同小异。

    2007年6月,雅虎(Yahoo)还是一盘散沙,业务进展缓慢,士气低下,许多核心高管离开公司另谋出路。不过雅虎董事会却在年会上对股东信誓旦旦地保证,称董事会强烈支持雅虎的首席执行官特里•萨梅尔,结果才过了一个星期,萨梅尔就从首席执行官的位子上离职了。(不过他在雅席非执行董事长的位子上接着干了大约六个月。)

    快进到今年6月,雅虎的业务仍然十分混乱,它的管理层既没能重现增长的势头,也没有为公司业务设立一个清晰的愿景。不过雅虎董事长罗伊•伯斯托克却对股东称,公司的主席执行官卡罗尔•巴茨的工作干得非常出色。结果现在巴茨也丢了饭碗。

    两位CEO命运的相似之处也就仅止于此了。不同之处在于,萨梅尔虽然面临了股东的压力,但却得以体面地辞职。而巴茨则是被毫不客气地炒了鱿鱼。雅虎董事长伯斯托克通过电话里向巴茨宣布这个决定,巴茨的心情也自然不会好受。接到解雇决定后,巴茨迅速在她的iPad上写了一封致雅虎全体员工的信,信中写道:“非常难过地告诉大家,雅席董事会主席刚刚通过电话解雇了我。我很荣幸能与大家共事,祝你们未来一切顺利。”

    巴茨的解雇标志着一向被外界视为胆小低效的雅虎董事会,这次终于做出了一次不同寻常的大胆之举。雅虎董事会的表现在萨梅尔时代表现得乏善可陈,而萨梅尔主政的时代正是雅虎衰落的开始。后来雅虎共同创始人杨致远接任CEO,在杨致远的任期内,他拒绝了微软(Microsoft)的收购方案,雅虎股东们都认为杨致远的这个决定对于公司来说是个灾难性的。杨致远辞职后,巴茨接过CEO权杖,干了两年半,而投资者对雅虎却越来越感到沮丧。

    巴茨刚上任时放了“三把火”,砍掉了一些非核心业务,削减了成本,简化了业务运作,并决定将部分互联网搜索业务外包给微软。但在如何带领公司扭亏为赢的问题上,巴茨似乎就江郎才尽了。素有“铁娘子”之称的巴茨以语言辛辣大胆著称,一开始被人们视作一股清新的空气,但久而久之,股东们就失去了新鲜感。而且她与雅虎的一些亚洲业务伙伴也相处得不甚和睦,双方的摩擦已经不是一次两次了。

    2009年1月巴茨刚刚接任雅虎CEO的时候,雅虎面临着几个重大的问题:首先在有利可图的搜索广告业务上,雅虎的市场份额不敌谷歌(Google),且此消彼长之势日显;另外雅虎本有机会收购一些增长十分迅速的网站,比如Facebook和YouTube等吸引了大量年轻用户的网站,但最终却坐失良机;雅虎的展示广告业务是公司最得意的业务之一,不过在诸多广告网站的包围之下,再加上面临经济危机的压力,也呈现出江河日下之态;此外由于雅虎和微软就收购问题谈崩了,导致员工和股东士气低下,公司上下一片怨气。

    巴茨接任CEO至今已经过了两年半,但现在雅虎面临的问题几乎没有改观。雅虎的主要收入来自广告,但雅虎在广告市场所占的分额越来越低,而且短期内似乎尚看不到回升的势头。另外雅虎早已失去了一流创新公司的地位,它的股市表现也一蹶不振。

    那么雅虎目前的计划是什么?看起来董事会也是在“摸着石头过河”。雅虎董事会在没有物色好CEO继任人的情况下就炒掉了巴茨,然后任命原财务总监蒂姆•莫斯为过渡CEO,同时在这段时间内加紧制订公司下一步的发展战略。董事会还任命了一支由五名高管组成的团队,帮助莫斯“进行全面的战略回顾。”

    正所谓“瘦死的骆驼比马大”,雅虎现在仍是最有价值的互联网媒体资产之一,每个月都有6亿人使用它的网站或服务。它的市值超过了160亿美元,而且就在巴茨被解雇的消息传出后,雅虎股价在本周二的涨幅超过6%。此外雅虎公司还握有中国阿里巴巴集团(Alibaba Group)和雅虎日本(Yahoo Japan)的大量宝贵的股权,雅虎以前就曾考虑过销售这些资产,因而预计不久将有一批投行家和顾问造访雅虎的加州太阳谷总部,商讨这些资产的销售事宜。销售这些有价值的资产自非难事,不过现在看来,起码在雅虎公司内部,还没有人知道如何才能让这家曾经的互联网巨头止住漫长而痛苦的衰退,重现往日辉煌。

    译者:朴成奎

    Back in June 2007, Yahoo appeared to be rudderless. Its business was slowing, morale was low and many of its key executives were leaving. Yet its board told shareholders during their annual meeting that it strongly backed its chief executive, Terry Semel. A week later, Semel was out as C.E.O. (He remained non-executive chairman for about six months.)

    Fast-forward four years to this June, when Yahoo (YHOO) was still muddling through, and its management was unable to reignite growth or to articulate a clear vision for the business. Yet Roy Bostock, Yahoo's chairman, told shareholders that Carol Bartz, the C.E.O, was doing a stellar job. Now Bartz is out.

    The similarities between the two departures end there. Semel resigned, though he faced pressure from unhappy shareholders. Bartz was fired unceremoniously –- Bostock broke the news to her via phone. She did not sound pleased. In an email to Yahoo's entire staff, which she quickly tapped out on her iPad, she wrote: "I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward."

    Her firing represents an unusually bold action by a board that has been widely criticized as timid and ineffective. The same board stood idly by Semel, who presided over the beginning of Yahoo's decline. It stood idly by Semel's successor, co-founder Jerry Yang, who fought a lucrative takeover bid by Microsoft (MSFT), a decision that was seen as disastrous by shareholders. And after Yang resigned, it stood by Bartz for two-and-a-half years, even as investors grew more and more dispirited.

    Bartz shook things up early on, shedding non-core businesses, cutting costs, streamlining operations and deciding to outsource part of its Internet search operations to Microsoft. But she seemed to run out of ideas for how to turn the company around. Her famously blunt remarks and salty language were received as breath of fresh air initially, but ended up wearing thin on shareholders and even some of Yahoo's own business partners in Asia, with whom Bartz clashed repeatedly.

    When Bartz took over in January of 2009, Yahoo faced a handful of major problems. It was losing share of the lucrative search advertising business to Google (GOOG); it had missed opportunities to buy fast growing sites like Facebook and YouTube, which were attracting younger users; its display advertising business, one of its crown jewels, was under siege by ad networks and under pressure from the economic downturn; morale among employees was low and shareholders, still angry over the collapse of merger talks with Microsoft, were impatient.

    Two and a half years later, Yahoo faces pretty much the same problems. Its share of the advertising business, which accounts for the majority of Yahoo's revenue, has continued to slip and the trend is not expected to reverse any time soon. The company has long ceased to be seen as a top innovator and its stock has languished.

    So what's Yahoo's plan? It seems that the board is not so sure. It fired Bartz without a successor on hand, naming Tim Morse, the chief financial officer, as interim C.E.O. And when it comes to strategy, well, the board named a team of five senior executives to assist Morse in "a comprehensive strategic review."

    Yahoo, of course, remains one of the most valuable Internet media properties, with some 600 million people using its sites or services every month. It's market value was more than $16 billion, and that was before shares jumped more than six percent in after hours trading Tuesday, following news of Bartz's firing. Yahoo also has valuable stakes in China's Alibaba Group and in Yahoo Japan. So you can expect investment bankers and other advisors to visit the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., to talk about selling those assets, which Yahoo has considered before. That's likely to be the easy part. But no one -- certainly no one at Yahoo -- seems to have figured how to stop the long, agonizing decline of an erstwhile Internet giant.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏