Yahoo Board Member Icahn Trims Stake, Bartz Wants Wants To Stop “Navel Gazing”

Investor and Yahoo board member Carl Icahn has reportedly reduced his holdings in Yahoo by roughly 12 million shares, according to a recent regulatory filing with the US SEC. Icahn became a board member last year after a prolonged and very public episode that involved heavy criticism of then Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and an attempt to oust the existing Yahoo board, including Yang, for blocking Microsoft’s earlier takeover attempt.

As a board member he obviously supported the new MicroHoo search deal, which has so far turned out to be a disappointment to most investors. It also appears to have created similar disappointment and a new round of internal frustration and  distraction among some Yahoo employees and engineers. According to AllThingsD:

One in a series of weekly Friday communications from [Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz], some of which I have posted before, this [memo] got a lot of attention internally, especially among the down-in-the-dumps engineering staff, who were less than pleased with the damn-the-torpedoes-stop-yer-whining tone of the memo.

Whatever the reaction, it is certainly a classic Bartz times 10–a definite back of the hand for those Yahoos who perhaps dwelled too much on whether or not they liked the recent search deal she struck with Microsoft (MSFT).

Here’s the basic gist of it: Fie on naysayers, stop bellyaching, Yahoo rocks and get back to work!

The internal Bartz memo referred to above expresses impatience with implied employee frustration in the wake of the MicroHoo search deal:

So get out of the sugar low–we have work to do. Stop staring at our navels, stop arguing with each other. Stop debate, debate, debate, and let’s focus on the competition.

As Bartz says in her memo, the MicroHoo deal is done (though it still must pass regulatory muster) and now she’s trying to refocus employees outwardly to regain momentum. (It seems Yahoo has been burdened with one internal controversy and distraction after another for at least two years.)

Bartz is trying to move on but the controversy may linger for some time as the deal is implemented.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: Employees | Yahoo: General

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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