Yahoo! CEO is decisive, but is she right?

A lot has been written here and in other media about the early days of Yahoo!'s (YHOO) new CEO Carol Bartz. The word that many observers are using to describe her management style is "decisive." After only a month in the top spot, she has pushed out the CFO and reorganized most of the top management at the company.

Among the changes, according toBusinessWeek, " current Chief Technology Officer Aristotle "Ari" Balogh will be head of all products and Hilary Schneider, current chief of ad, publishing, and audience groups in the U.S., will head North American operations."

Investors have to ask themselves how much the change matters. Yahoo! may still sell its most important operation, its search business, to Microsoft (MSFT), which would kill the usefulness of any new management in that part of the company. In the marketing segment of the firm, that leaves display advertising. The sector is doing so poorly that good management may not help much.

Yahoo!'s content business will be managed by some new executives. They may be able to make modest changes, but Yahoo! is already the leader in a number of its "editorial" sections, such as job postings.

What does that leave? In some ways, the part of the company which is most important to the future: mobile and other new devices. Yahoo!'s future depends on how effectively it can extend its reach off the PC. It is the one area of the company where management counts.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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