The CEO's farewell

“‘I’ve just been fired.’ With those four words, Yahoo’s chief executive, Carol A. Bartz, did something Tuesday afternoon that dismissed managers almost never do: She told the truth.”
NYT: Blunt E-Mail Raises Issues Over Firing at Yahoo

Wait, did I say “fired?” I guess that’s not quite being fair. Technically, I resigned. But when one is presented with the option of resigning on the one hand, or “we will spread your shit in the street so deep you’ll need hip boots to wade through it,” on the other hand, it really feels more like being fired.


I don’t have anyone to blame buy myself, really. I knew coming in that hard work, bold, innovative ideas and extreme self-sacrifice were anathema to the corporate culture here. I naively thought I could change that culture.

Obviously, I was wrong. Did I take some risks? Sure. But show me any successful high-stakes, livin’-on-the-edge gambler and I’ll show you a risk-taker.

But I don’t want you guys to worry. I have every faith and confidence in Jerry and the Board to right the ship and return this company to its glory days, no matter what I may have said in some of my less guarded moments. (Note to self: no more razzle-tinis on an empty stomach!) In fact I happen to know that they are working on a plan—based on my ideas, of course—that will lift this company to unseen heights, once they secure that emergency bailout from those Russian investors, which may actually happen, in spite of what you may have heard.  

Believe me, as I was chauffeured home most evenings, I would think about those of you who had to get by on as little 1/250th of my annual compensation. And the fact that you were still able to get out of bed, come to work and give it your all day in and day out just blew me away. Take Reggie, my chauffeur, for instance. When I pointed this out to him, he reminded me that he’s actually one of you. Well, he was one of you, anyway.  The package I negotiated says I get to keep my limo and Reggie for another year, but the expense comes out of my golden parachute. So, we all have it rough, see?

But I will miss so many of you whom I have gotten to know so well: Nancy (or was it Nanette?) who brought my breakfast tray to the executive dining suite; Joe, the loyal and discrete bathroom attendant; Karen, my faithful and dedicated personal assistant. No, wait. I had to let Karen go last year. Well, the new one, you know the girl I mean. They, and all of you, are just terrific.  

As for my immediate plans, I expect I’ll take some paid speaking gigs on management excellence and sit on some boring old corporate boards. Hey, gotta pay those bills.

Well, I’m out. See you later. Don’t work too hard.

I know I won’t.

R. David Lemley
(former) CEO