Every few months ago a rumor surfaces about how impatient Yahoo's shareholders are getting with chief executive Carol Bartz, who more than 2 1/2 years into a four-year contract has been unable to get the pioneering Internet company back on track.
The latest comes from Kara Swisher of All Things Digital, who writes that key board members are feeling the pressure and starting to scrutinize Yahoo's operations with a more active and critical eye:
While board chairman Roy Bostock has publicly backed Bartz — after all, he was her biggest champion at the time of her hiring — multiple sources said he has started to become more involved at looking at the management issues at the company and its challenges.[Yahoo co-founder and board member Jerry] Yang — still a key figure at Yahoo — has also become more active, said sources, and tensions between him and Bartz have increased over the last few months.
These kinds of stories started appearing last year, after Bartz had been in the top job at Yahoo long enough to have used up her honeymoon period. While Bartz's reign has resulted in increased profits for Yahoo, these have come almost exclusively through cost-cutting and reorganizing, corporate euphemisms for layoffs.
Revenue -- the real key to growth and increased share price -- has been unrelentingly flat during a time when Google's ad revenues have been growing impressively. So has Yahoo's stock.
But because she swears, argues, pushes back and acts tough, Bartz appears to have cowed the board and bought herself some time -- enough so that directors will almost assuredly take the gutless way out and just let her contract expire in January 2013, even though between now and then Bartz will do absolutely nothing to give shareholders hope that she has put Yahoo on a growth path.