Yahoo employes received calls to nominate colleagues for the company's annual Superstar Awards. What a depressing exercise to force on workers: Will they not, inevitably, think of all of the people they'd like to put forward for the prize — but aren't eligible because they've left Yahoo? Past winners have received cash prizes of as much as $75,000; recently, Yahoo switched to stock-option grants instead, which seem less appealing. The program was the brainchild of departed HR chief Libby Sartain. Since it can only highlight the company's paucity of talent, one wonders how much it will outlast her.
A splashy hire for Yahoo in 2001, Libby Sartain's reputation as "Chief People Yahoo" rapidly dwindled. She was pushed out in March, but Yahoo didn't make a big to-do about her successor, David Windley, who was promoted from within. Windley ran HR for the advertiser-and-publisher group when now-president Sue Decker ran it; while Windley reports to CEO Jerry Yang, one's inclined to think his loyalties lie with Decker. Human resources is a useful function to control in the midst of a power grab.
A month after we first heard rumors that Libby Sartain, Yahoo's unpopular HR chief, a tipster now tells us Sartain is "quitting." To the last, Sartain has been more skilled at generating press clips for herself than results for Yahoo. In the most recent issue of Human Resource Executive — yes, such a magazine exists — she said:
This morning, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the usual polite noises about "integrating" Yahoo's management into Microsoft. The reality? Come on. They're all fired, except for the geeks. If Microsoft had any respect for current management, they would have negotiated a friendly deal instead of launching a takeover. Most of the executive suite will be gone, I bet, within six months if the takeover succeeds. Here are the details on who's in and who's out, starting at the top.
A source close to Yahoo tells us the time has finally come for unpopular Yahoo HR boss Libby Sartain. "She has never delivered on her promise to make HR vital to Yahoo in the same way as Southwest," our source said. Last summer, Sartain polled a distant third behind Marco Boerries and Gregory Coleman as the most unpopular executive at Yahoo. Coleman's out already; is Boerries next?