Embattled Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz is known for her bluntness and tough talk. In fact, she appears to be rather proud of that reputation.
But at the company's annual investor conference on Wednesday, Bartz uncorked a comment that (if reported accurately) defies belief.
"I know it's somewhat very popular to say Yahoo is not turning around. But we have 14,000 people and a management team that's working very, very hard to do just that," Bartz said. "I would insist that you give us some credit for turning this company around," she later added.
Where to begin? How about with the fact that Yahoo isn't turning around. There hasn't been any revenue growth since Bartz took the helm in January 2009. Indeed, it's the opposite -- revenue is falling:
2008: $7.2 billion
2009: $6.5 billion
2010: $6.3 billion
Further, Yahoo's revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 was $1.2 billion, down from $1.6 billion in the year-ago quarter. This while rivals Google and Facebook are generating impressive online ad revenue growth.
Sure, Yahoo's earnings are up, thanks mostly to improved operating margins as a result of several rounds of layoffs. But cost-cutting isn't how you measure a company's success, and even Bartz acknowledged as much at the investor conference, emphasizing that revenue growth is the top goal.
Again, from Reuters:
"I want to make sure you understand that we're not running this company based on cost. We are running this company for growth," she said.
And even though there's been no growth, we insist on credit for it anyway! We insist!