From the outside looking in, it sure seems to be going from bad to worse at Yahoo, where Jerry Yang and Sue Decker appear unable to stop the hemorrhaging in the executive ranks.
But before getting flagged for piling on, is the rush of recent departures at the company really is as bad as it appears to 99.9 percent of the blognoscenti? Let's pause and think about that for a moment. With no disrespect to any of the people who are departing for greener pastures in the last couple of weeks, Yahoo's not losing any superstars. (Check out Mike Arrington's running tally of "former" Yahooers.)
The fact is that Yahoo made a strategic choice when it rebuffed Microsoft and got into bed with Google. A year from now we'll know whether that was the wise choice. In the meantime, Yang and Decker need to weed out the disgruntled and the half-hearted as quickly as possible. Anyone not willing to charge the hill and risk taking shrapnel ought to be encouraged to follow the rest who have opted to quit. Otherwise, they'll have to redecorate the corporate corridors with an ancient Rome motif to fit with all the backstabbing bound to ensue.
The worst thing Yahoo's leadership could do is to dawdle enacting the big reorganization everyone seems to be expecting. Here's an excerpt from Kara Swisher's prescient post on the subject.
Sources all talk about a much more deep and profound managerial shift--rather than the deck-chair-arranging that has been typical of most Yahoo reorgs. For those just checking into this drama, reorganizations are to Yahoo as floods are to Venice--inevitable, annoying and very unpleasant.
Still, CEO Jerry Yang and President Sue Decker--who appears to be the main architect of the changes--do have to try to give the company's management structure a new shape for the challenges ahead and before the Aug. 1 annual meeting.
Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking and Yahoo's press keeps getting worse. At this point, the battle for perception takes center stage. As I noted on another occasion, if ever there were a time for management to deliver a "band of brothers" speech to rouse the troops, this is the time. (Note to Yang & Team: If you're stuck for inspiration, try Kenneth Branagh's marvelous interpretation of Shakespeare's Henry V.)