Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Sue Decker’s Goodbye Memo to the Yahoo Troops

Here is President Sue Decker’s memo to the Yahoo (YHOO) staff, which BoomTown neglected to post yesterday, what with all the corporate musical chairs going on over there.

As I said in a post earlier today, Decker’s departure was quick and classy, without a lot of the painful dragging on that can happen in these cases.

Therefore, to give Decker a big honking break–but just one!–I will not do one of my typical snarky memo decodings (see my favorite Decker memo translation here, though).

Those I will now save for new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s first Yahoo memo, although I am a bit worried about her sense of humor or lack thereof, based on the bare-knuckled performance in her first public outing yesterday.

Here’s the memo:

From: Sue Decker
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 2:32 PM
To: all-worldwide@yahoo-inc.com
Subject: The next chapter


After almost nine incredibly rewarding years with this terrific company, I have decided that it is time for me to pursue my next chapter, just as Yahoo! is charting the next phase of its path-breaking journey.

I have not made this decision lightly. I have been with this company for nearly a decade, and together we have been through a period of amazing change during this time. In particular, I want to thank the Board and especially Jerry, who has been my partner and friend from the very beginning, for affording me the opportunity to contribute to Yahoo!’s success.

The Yahoo! of today is a radically different company than the one I joined in 2000, as befits a major franchise in one of the world’s fastest-evolving industries. Financially, the company has grown its revenue base from a little over $1 billion in 2000 to more than $7 billion, and has more than quadrupled its operating cash flow from around $400 million to close to $2 billion. Over that period, working together, we have reshaped one of the world’s most vital Internet brands and transformed the company in ways the outside world is only just beginning to see. We did this by anticipating customer needs and evolving our business model ahead of dynamic changes to the online marketplace. While it is true that competition has never been fiercer, it is equally true that Yahoo! has moved decisively and creatively forward.

I am especially proud of some of the innovative open and customizable products and platforms we have developed in the last 18 months, including:

The APT display platform, which has the potential to transform the way display advertising is bought and sold

BOSS (Build your own search service), which lets others use our search technology through open API’s

The host of mobile and device platforms and services which are fundamentally changing the way consumers experience the internet on devices beyond the PC.

Our new Home Page, which will launch early in 2009, and will be open to 3rd party content and help Yahoo! lean into its greatest strength: understanding consumers.

We also faced the difficult decision of reducing costs in a way that has allowed us to hit our profitability objectives, notwithstanding the tough economy. Not too many companies can say that. The result of all of this hard work is a company which has positioned itself to weather a challenging economic cycle and come out the other side stronger than before.

But the real testament to the success this company has achieved is you. You are the best in the business–tremendously talented, highly skilled and incredibly dedicated to making Yahoo! stronger for our users and advertisers. Even through a turbulent 2008 and in the face of unrelenting distractions, you held your heads high and stayed focused, releasing some amazing new products for users and experiences for advertisers that demonstrate your tremendous insight, energy and passion. It has been my great pleasure working with all of you, and I have every confidence that going forward you will continue to drive Yahoo! ahead and to prosper.

As I turn my attention to helping transition in the most successful way possible, I want to congratulate Carol on her new role and put my full support behind her. I would ask that you all do the same. She and I serve together on the Intel board, so I have had the pleasure of seeing her in action. She is a decisive, passionate leader that I believe will serve Yahoo! well as it embarks on the next phase of its evolution.

I am extremely grateful for the time I have had at Yahoo! This has been a profoundly enriching experience for me, both personally and professionally. As I set off on for my next mission, I want to extend my sincerest wishes to all of you for continued success.