Can Yahoo!'s new CEO turn things around?
US – Yahoo!’s employees may not be whooping with joy just yet to welcome new CEO Scott Thompson, as fears of job cuts still hover over the company.
Four months after the internet giant sacked its CEO Carol Bartz over the phone, Thompson, the former president of EBay’s PayPal unit, has been hired to strategically review and reverse the company’s slow growth.
However, Yahoo!’s 14,000 employees have had five different CEOs over the past half decade, and some staff are expecting Thompson’s administration to trim headcount numbers.
“Everyone at Yahoo! suspects there will be layoffs, but nobody really knows to what extent and when,” one employee who works on an editorial website told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
“They've probably held off [on layoffs], waiting for a new CEO. It's hard to see the company growing from an employee base perspective,” the employee, who asked to remain anonymous, added.
But the employees are generally holding out for the best outcome, with most looking towards Thompson for a clear vision, a streamlined product development focus and more transparency from management.
Currently, Yahoo! is plagued by bad press after the controversial dismissal of Bartz, but some former employees are standing up for the internet company. WSJ reported many believe the negative media reports depicting Yahoo’s leadership as dysfunctional have made it challenging to retain and attract employees.
“It's difficult to attract talent when the press and general perception isn't favourable,” Mark Risher, former director of Yahoo! Mail’s product management who left the company in 2010, said. He added media reports of the company have not been accurate or fair.
Another employee said one more problem the company faced was its lack of communication with staff. “Employees go to the media to find out what's going on with the company internally,” the employee shared. “Complete transparency and honesty may be able to change people's mindsets, and rather than going out and pulling up Web pages to see what's going on, [they'll] just go ahead and focus on what they need to do.”
William Barnett, the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said Yahoo! will continue to struggle retaining staff until Thompson is able to get the company back on track.
“The future of Yahoo! will depend on their ability to attract and retain engineers and managers who are willing to take a risk and move away from the conformist attitudes that have grown up in the company over the years,” he said.
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