Before the official Yahoo earnings conference call began after markets closed Tuesday, an company investor relations executive went through a laundry list of risk factors facing the company, including the possibility of a takeover or partnership, shareholder litigation, macro economic forces that could lead to unforeseen negative circumstances and so many others.
To which new CEO Carol Bartz said, as she took over the conference call with analyst: "I should've understood all those risks before I took this job!"
There was laughter and she went to work. "It's been 8 days since I took this job and I'm already feeling at home," she said, saying that she's met with employees and received "hundreds of emails." She's witnessed "wonderful energy," and almost seemed surprised by it, adding that as an "outsider reading the press last year," it was easy to see that Yahoowas "distracted," and mired in difficulty. But now that she's had a chance to walk the campus and meet with workers, she has discovered instead a real focus among the rank and file and a strong product pipeline. She conceded that there are still fundamental issues that need to be addressed, not the least of which is the company's owned and operated site revenue which continues to be soft. Fees revenue also declined 12 percent and that's a disappointment too.
However, she believes there is still "an incredible opportunity that exists here at Yahoo."
"This organization is extremely complex," she continued. "I'm excited and encouraged by what I've seen so far."
Bartz asked her own questions since she has heard so many people as them as well: "Did I come to Yahoo to sell the company? The answer is no. I'm here because I see a tremendous collection of assets."
"Second, am I planning to immediately sell the Search business. I did not arrive here with preconceived notions about anything. It's very easy from the outside to have an opinion about what Yahoo should or shouldn't do," she said, adding that
"Search is a very valuable part of our business." She's made no final decisions about that aspect of the company's business, and continues her fact-finding mission. She offered no real time-frame on when she might make a decision.