The much storied Yahoo Inc. continues to consume column inches (or, pixels if you consume your news online). From bold beginnings, Yahoo has endured a mixed career as an Internet search engine business. Current chief Marissa Mayer has had her fair share of headlines as well, including some stinging criticisms over some of her management decisions. Now, with a proxy fight looming, Yahoo has issued this release, which has been reported by Ronald Brausch on Dealpolitik (and no doubt others).
The release and associated commentaries make interesting reading, especially for students of corporate governance, strategic management and firm performance: For example, the release implies that ownership of the new strategic plan lies with the CEO. Consider these two statements:
These statements raise a really interesting question. They imply that control lies with management. Does ultimate responsibility for firm performance not lie with the board of directors? Why has the board chosen to stand a little aloof from this? Are these statements simply examples of sloppy copywriting within Yahoo and on Brausch's part, or does control over the company strategy actually lie with the CEO?
While I have no doubt that some investors are keen to gain partial or complete control of the company (as Brausch reports), the commentary suggests that a more pressing challenge needs to be addressed if Yahoo is to become great again. The question of whether the board or the CEO is calling the shots and, therefore, is actually in control needs to be resolved, and quickly.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.