Carol Bartz' Yahoo layoff memo leaks with bonus gagging order

Details about Yahoo’s job losses leaked well in advance and now an email about the layoffs from Yahoo’s CEO, Carol Bartz, has leaked too.

She begins by calling her staff “Yahoos”, which is probably supposed to be affectionate but could also explain why she’s sacking some of them.

Then she reveals that four percent of the company is getting the boot, mostly in the Products department, mainly due to duplication of work, under-performance and the need to lower costs. Yahoo has 14,000 staff, but reports cite the figure for axed staff ranging from 550 to 650 people.

She said it’s not easy to say goodbye to staff, “especially before the holidays”, but that severance pay and benefits are being supplied, along with efforts to help the ex-Yahoos find another job. Reports indicate that these payments are two months wages and a bonus, which is hardly spectacular when you get fired days before Christmas.

Oh, and “if any Yahoo employee talks about the package with anyone other than family, they lose it,” according to Silicon Alley Insider. So they get a bonus gagging order in their Christmas stocking too.

She said it’s “disappointing when things like this leak”, which was a surefire way to tempt the gods into leaking her email. You can read the full text below:


I want to share some tough news with you. Today, we began notifying some Yahoos that they will lose their jobs. Most of the reductions will come from the Products org and, when completed, will affect about 4% of the company.

I know this has been rumored for some time. It’s disappointing when things like this leak, and it certainly doesn’t make it any easier for anyone involved. This was a tough call, but a necessary one. We need to make these changes now to ensure that Products is structured and running the way we want as 2011 begins. And that means we need fewer Yahoos in some areas, and different types of Yahoos in others.

There are several reasons for this. First, we’ve found a lot of duplication in work between Products and the regions. Second, it’s no secret that we’re cutting investment in underperforming and non-core products so we can focus on our strengths (like email, the homepage, search, mobile, advertising, content and more). And lastly, we need to get the Products cost-structure in order so it aligns with our development plans for next year and beyond.

You’ve heard me say before that I didn’t come to cut Yahoo! to greatness. That’s still true. This decision is about more than cost savings. The changes are meant to get us into a position so we can invest more in the kind of products and technology we know we need to be successful. The process that begins today-along with Blake’s past org changes and new Products operational plan-helps to get us there.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to Yahoos we know and work with, especially before the holidays. Please know that we’re helping those affected with severance pay and benefits, plus services to help them find other jobs.

One last thing before I go: It’s important to put this in perspective, and remember that we’re making good progress on our turnaround. Margins have expanded. Revenue growth has stabilized after a long period of decelerating trends. Product rollouts are accelerating as we modernize our infrastructure. Our Search alliance with Microsoft continues on schedule, and more.

We’ve got a lot of potential, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Let’s stay focused and not lose sight of that.