John Gapper Carol Bartz leaves Yahoo with admirable honesty

Carol Bartz

Carol Bartz in February 2011. Image by Getty.

“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it,” Malcolm observes of the executed Thane of Cawdor in Macbeth and the same could be said of Carol Bartz, the abruptly dismissed chief executive of Yahoo.

Ms Bartz has had a troubled tenure at Yahoo and was widely expected to depart, but her email to the troops when it finally occurred on Tuesday (“Sent from my iPad”) is about the best such missive I have read:

“To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


This combines honesty with an entertaining whiff of resentment at her treatment, as well as being gracious to Yahoo’s employees. It is a fine contrast to the usual long-winded and essentially dishonest memos following such events.

Not only does she actually use the word “fired” – rather than “resigned”, “let go”, “parted amicably” or a thousand variations, but she keeps it nice and short – just two sentences, both of which are succinct and clear.

Ms Bartz’s performance suggests that Roy Bostock, Yahoo’s chairman, was correct to fire her, and even not to wait until she returned from a business trip to convey the message. But she went out in style.