Yahoo Inc chairman Roy Bostock fired CEO Carol Bartz over the phone on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous tenure marked by stagnation and a rift with Chinese partner Alibaba.
Chief financial officer Tim Morse will step in as interim CEO, and the company will search for a permanent leader to spearhead a battle in online advertising and content with rivals Google and Facebook. A new executive leadership council would help Morse in managing day-to-day operations.
Shares in Yahoo jumped 6% in after-hours trading to $13.7 after closing at $12.9 on the Nasdaq.
“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,” Bartz said in a two-sentence email to employees.
Analysts said Bartz’s departure signalled the company had run out of options after failing to dominate the advertising and content markets and handing over its search operations to Microsoft Corp .
That partnership, under which Microsoft handles search for Yahoo’s websites and keeps a portion of ad revenue, appears to favour it at Yahoo’s expense.
The decision to oust Bartz was reached by an unanimous vote of Yahoo’s eight independent directors late last week, sources said.
Relations between Yahoo and Alibaba have soured since Bartz took over, with Alibaba founder Jack Ma failing in an attempt to buy out its US partner's stake.
A senior official at Alibaba Group said Bartz’s departure was unlikely to solve the ownership issues.