Yahoo to Name Autodesk Chairman Bartz as CEO

Respected Silicon Valley Operator Little Known in Ad Circles

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo is expected to tap Carol Bartz, chairman of software maker Autodesk, as CEO, opting for an operator with deep roots in Silicon Valley but little known in the advertising and entertainment industries.

Carol Bartz
Carol Bartz
Ms. Bartz, 60, has accepted Yahoo's offer and the company is expected to announce her appointment as successor to Jerry Yang, according to The Wall Street Journal. Yahoo spokesman Brad Williams declined to comment on the report.

The appointment ends a two-month search for a replacement for Mr. Yang, the Yahoo co-founder who stepped into the CEO role after the departure of Terry Semel in June 2007. Mr. Yang stepped down in mid-November after a tumultuous run where he turned down an offer from Microsoft to acquire the company, and then attempted to forge a joint venture in search with Google.

Talks of a combination with AOL, led by Chairman Roy Bostock, have also been under way but were reportedly dropped pending the appointment of a new CEO.

Her challenge
Ms. Bartz was CEO of San Rafael-based Autodesk, a company that makes design software for architecture and engineering, from 1992 until 2006. She serves on the board of Sun Microsystems with Mr. Yang and on the board of Intel with Yahoo President Sue Decker.

Her challenge will be to restart growth at the online behemoth, which is dominant in the slowing category of online display advertising, and is considered an also-ran in search, which is dominated by Google.

Yahoo shares traded slightly lower on news of the appointment of Ms. Bartz, considered the front-runner for several weeks. Yahoo shares have taken a beating since Mr. Yang and Yahoo management spurned an offer for the company from Microsoft.

The company is trading at $12.22, 60% lower than Microsoft's February $31 bid for the company.

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