Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Managing transition...what Carol Bartz walked into at Autodesk (click here)

Kara Swisher dug into the news archives and posted a piece from a WSJ 1992 article that speaks to the management shadow that Autodesk's founder, John Walker, cast over the company. The WSJ article is a wonderful prologue to John Walker's Information Letter 14 which, if you have time, shows the incredible challenge she had in coming in as an outsider and successfully executing the role of CEO. The memo is an excellent read, highlights the opportunities and pitfalls that abound in turbulent markets, and also displays the quirks of a founder who has shrugged responsibility, but exercises his founder's authority.

I would expect that she will receive much more initial internal support at Yahoo than was available in the chaotic Autodesk environment described here. It would be wonderful for shareholders (and the industry), if she can right this ship....It may take sometime to see favorable results as the ecosystem of 1992 Autodesk was far more favorable than she faces in 2009 Yahoo. I would not bet against her.

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