Carol Bartz's sudden firing from Yahoo is very different to the departure of her predecessor Jerry Yang in 2009. It is also very different from Steve Jobs' decision to step down as Apple chief executive a couple of weeks ago.
This is not simply because Bartz was fired over the telephone, which came as a shock to her, and to Yahoo's employees and customers, but because analysts V3 tried to speak to about her departure did not even know who she was.
If they did recognise her name, they could not comment on her tenure. Yahoo has slipped off the analyst radar completely. That in itself says something about Bartz's time at Yahoo.
Bartz was hired to turn Yahoo around after Yang took the firm on a roller coaster ride. Search market share had fallen sharply against Google, and the on/off engagement with Microsoft caused Yahoo's share price to fluctuate wildly. Bartz had a mountain to climb: boost employee morale, regain the company's fortunes and define its role to consumers.
The market doubted Bartz's abilities, demonstrated by a fall in Yahoo's share price when her position was announced. Bartz had been chief executive at Autodesk, and sceptics highlighted her lack of experience in the web business and the Web 2.0 environment as reasons why she might not be suited to the role. How could Bartz bring Yahoo back as a serious competitor to Google, they asked, when her experience lay in old-school technology companies?
However, Bartz had the support of the Yahoo board, and chairman Roy Bostock referred to her "energetic and decisive leadership style" and her "track record of driving growth".
Bartz had helped to turn Sun Microsystems into a billion-dollar company before she began working for Autodesk, where she boosted revenues from £195m to £1.04bn in just four years. Bartz was listed by Forbes as one of the world's 100 most powerful women in 2004 and 2005.
But it seems that the Yahoo board decided yesterday that the sceptics had been right all along. Bartz can boast a number of successes at Yahoo, but ultimately they were not enough to maintain the board's faith.
A report in The Wall Street Journal said that a number of independent Yahoo directors had studied Yahoo's assets and performance in the past two weeks and concluded that the company was not performing as well as it could.
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