More Yahoo Execs Yank the Ripcord: When Does Bartz Soar Into the Blue?

Last Updated Sep 30, 2010 6:33 PM EDT

Although Yahoo (YHOO) has tried to position itself as where consumers go to be online, it's increasingly a company where executives bail out to save their careers. Kara Swisher at All Things Digital called this last night, as three top managers, including the U.S. head are on their way out.

And that's just some of the bad news, as Facebook passed Yahoo as the number two U.S. video site on the Web. The obvious question becomes whether CEO Carol Bartz lasts through the next quarter. My bet is no. In fact, I think her continuing through next month would be questionable.

On the executive front, Yahoo has tried to tried to spin the current the panicked sprints to the doors as Bartz the Bold ejecting the old guard, except that Bartz is the one who hired them in the first place.

For land's sake, neither the board nor top management -- well, those who are still left -- bothered to inform employees, apparently leading to some distinctly uncomfortable experiences by Yahoo salespeople who are in New York for Advertising Week.

Employees are nervous. Business partners are getting nervous. Bartz should be getting nervous, except she's too busy sticking both feet in her mouth, whether ticking off major Asian business partners or comparing herself -- my eyes are still crossing over this one -- to Steve Jobs.

Swisher's sources suggest that Yahoo's board will bring in a strong number 2 and then gently dump Bartz after the remaining 18 months on her contract is up. I don't buy it. This degree of turmoil, disappointment, and employee dejection is not something the company can survive for another year-and-a-half. It would cripple the company and all but eliminate the chance for meaningful change.

Granted, Yahoo's board has not always been the swiftest to make necessary decisions. Given how the company was doing, rejecting Microsoft's buy-out offer was one of the most foolhardy and hubristic actions I've seen out of a board of directors, and that's not an easy statement to make. So, when I say maybe a month and certainly no longer than a quarter, that would be for rational and decisive action. But for this company? Who know, maybe 18 months is actually right.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.