Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yahoo's Reorganization: Is it Like Shuffling the Deck Chairs on the Titanic?

Yahoo announced a major reorganization--essentially centralizing the various product division under Susan Decker. Reorganization sometimes may appear like 'rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.' While it may not be true in the case of many restructuring moves, in the case of Yahoo, it appears so.
WSJ headline for the story was: "Planned Yahoo Reorganization May Spark Executive Departures." I think it is a response to past departures and it could trigger future exodus. These managers may have wanted to stay on and cash in on the lucrative poison pill for the management cadre that was put in place when Microsoft was in the picture. Now that Microsoft is out, these executives may not get big payout, they have seen their stock price plummet (many of them may have their options 'under water'). The key resources that Yahoo has (or more precisely, had) is people--talented and experienced professional. As they start to leave (a good early warning signal in a knowledge-based economy), you can bet that they are unlikely to be successful in recruiting talent to replace those leaving--even under current economic conditions.

Yang & Co. have about six weeks before they face the shareholders at the Annual Meeting on August 1. I do not think the angry shareholders could be pacified by detailed presentations on reorganization!

Remember the age-old strategy axiom? "strategy before structure or structure follows strategy.' It's so true in the case of Yahoo.

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