Big news for Yahoo! and for Women in the Bay Area (and beyond)

Thanks to my desktop alerts from ABC7News, I just heard the big news that Carol Bartz of AutoDesk has been named as CEO at Yahoo, replacing Jerry Wang.    Any time a woman is named to a big role in Silicon Valley, I think it’s a good thing…although, based on the ‘Sarah Palin incident’, it also must be a QUALIFIED woman (but I digress).

There is lots of good news around this announcement, I’m sure, but a few things that occur to me:

  • Ms. Bartz’ qualifications and accomplishments (increased revenue and stock prices while CEO at Autodesk) are being celebrated at the same time her new role is being announced…this shows evidence of the effectiveness of women as leaders in high tech or elsewhere.
  • People are talking about her work ‘style’…and from what I can tell, she’s a tough cookie–but I have also heard that she shows care about the people she works with and has ‘softened’ her style over the years while maintaining laser focus on the job at hand.
  • She is taking on the CEO role at ‘youthful’ Yahoo at the age of 60…I love it!  I remember walking the halls of Yahoo! a few years ago and wondering how anyone over the age of 30 could ever fit in…perhaps things have changed there, or perhaps they are about to… (yes, people over 30 DO understand technology!)
  • A fellow consultant, Nilofer Merchant, CEO of Rubicon Consulting, former manager at Autodesk, and a former WIC presenter also got some press…she is quoted in the ABC7 News article, talking a bit about her thoughts about the appointment.

Not EVERYone is going to see this as good news, specifically, Susan Decker – President of Yahoo! who was also being considered for the role;  or anyone who isn’t keen on seeing a Yahoo!/Microsoft deal go through (there is speculation that it will be revisited with this new change in leadership).  However, I can’t think that big right now–I’m just happy to see a woman get some great press and a juicy role!

Those are a few of my thoughts…would love to hear yours.

About Jen Berkley Jackson

Jen Berkley Jackson, founder and owner of The Insight Advantage, has extensive experience in using various methods (surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews) to integrate the voice of the customer into all functions, helping organizations increase market share, revamp product lines/services, and ultimately increase customer loyalty and retention.


  1. Carol Bartz is one of the few women in Silicon Valley or anywhere in corporte America that has continued to be a wonderful role model for women. Nilofer Merchant, on the other hand, is a very poor role model and you have done Bartz a disservice by quoting her in your blog.

  2. Nicholas-

    Thanks for commenting…I hope that Carol doesn’t look at things the way you do… I don’t know Nilofer Merchant personally but saw her quoted online about Carol’s appointment saying great things about her management style…her quote caught my attention because she has spoken to WIC in the past (with great reviews) and has a good reputation in our community. She was also just chosen as one of the 100 Women of Influence by the SJ Business Journal along with WIC President, Linda Popky.

    But freedom of speech and all that…we are all entitled to our own view of the world!

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