Bartz holds Yahoo shareholder meeting

June 25, 2009 7:08:03 PM PDT
Six months ago, a new CEO took over at Yahoo after what had been a couple of very rocky years there. On Thursday, Carol Bartz presided over her first Yahoo shareholders meeting and she gave her first clues as to where Yahoo is heading.

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A cloud has been hanging over Yahoo for more than a year. Many also wonder if there will ever be a deal with Microsoft. Yahoo's new CEO, Carol Bartz, kicked off the shareholders meeting with the answer.

"If we ever have a deal with Microsoft, it will be announced publicly, and until we do, there's nothing to say," said Bartz.

Cameras weren't allowed inside the meeting. Yahoo provided audio instead.

Attendance was sharply lower than in recent years. Those who did attend wanted to hear what Bartz has been doing the past six months. She announced a major redesign of Yahoo's home page will be ready in the fall. And one thing she wants to do is to let users get rid of the soft news -- often called fluff.

"If I see another Brittany Spears thing, I'm going to throw up. We are doing something internally called the Fluffometer," said Bartz.

Yahoo mail, finance, news and sports are all being reviewed. Bartz says the Yahoo she took over was disorganized and poor on execution. Over the past year, Yahoo shares tumbled under co-founder Jerry Yang's leadership, and under Bartz, Yahoo stock has made a modest rebound. Shareholders say they're willing to give her time.

"I think it has to do with the overall economy of the market and as the economy picks up, I feel that it's positive," said Michelle Wong, a Sunnyvale resident.

Bartz made it clear Yahoo won't get into the controversy about Internet censorship in China.

"Yahoo was not incorporated to fix China. We will respect human rights, we will do what's right, but we're not going to take on every government in the world as our mandate," said Bartz

Shareholders turned down a "say on pay" proposal -- an advisory vote on executive pay.

"I think they're turning this company around, and I think it's going to succeed," said Chris Munson, a Yahoo shareholder.

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