Tuesday, December 16, 2008
If you're an investor in a company that's doing pretty good, but losing marketshare and all of a sudden in the midst of things, the CEO decides to NOT do a deal with a major corporation, should you be worried? No, not really. He does have another plan right? Well...in some cases the answer is yes, and in the case of Yahoo, it was YES, but...it did not involve doing the company any good. In this case the CEO just said "I am stepping down, but when my successor is found, I will hang around to do what I've always done". Should you be worried? OH Yes.
Now, in the world of corporate America there's a perception that you have to pay a CEO many millions of dollars to run a company. It's a myth that was created long ago. It's not one that hold much water if you look around at how literally screwed up the economy in our country is.
I've always held a belief that to be at the top of a company and to run things you really had to have a passion for doing them. You had to believe in the product being produced and you had to always look out for its best interests.
Let me give you examples in recent history of those NOT looking out for the best interest of the company, or the products:
A. Scott McNealy & Jonathan Schwartz - Scott thought it would be a great idea to continue his rampage of Bill Gates and how screwed up things were at Microsoft (I was working there at the time) as our stock was trading in the $130 per share range. What happened? The bottom fell out of the company and the stock plunged so fast people thought the Titanic was sinking again. It never recovered and is trading so low that you need a magnifying glass to find it.
B. Yahoo Founder Jerry Yang in the midst of things getting a bit tough at the company after making a decision NOT to sell of the foundation of the company (SEARCH) to Microsoft decides that after he's trashed the deal that he'll just "step down" before a successor has been found, basically leaving the cart without a horse sailing down a hill out of control. How did it effect the stock, basically it broke it in half and now the stock bounces between 9.50 and 13.50 per share. It had traded in the $455 range at one point in company history. A long way to fall valuation-wise from 455.00 per share to 13.50 per share. Substantial to say the least.
C. The combined heads of the BIG 3 automakers. Why do we combine them here? Because hopefully out of the 3 being slammed into one another and achieving a critical mass, you might actually get half of a head that understands that they're trying to sink a portion of Americana that people are not sitting still for.
D. The CEOs of ANY Bank in the USA. Because basically they're all crooks and they're getting a bailout without any questions of why they're needing it, where the money is that they're missing, and why the taxpayers should foot their bill while they dump many of us onto the streets by selling loans off to foreign banks who have no interest in Americans keeping their homes.
In ALL of these cases, these people were paid multiple millions of dollars basically to trash the companies which they were tasked with leading. Now how can I say this after they did such a good job? Well...look at the good, weigh it with the bad and you have your answers. Also look around you and see how many people are losing their jobs, how many companies have layoffs because they can't afford to pay their people, and how many of these CEOs leap out the window with a proverbial parachute made of gold. Too bad they're really not made of gold though. When that sucker hit's the ground with that parachute slamming into them and driving them through the pavement...that kind of expresses how some people feel that leave these companies and have to go out and get a job while these people sit at home in the lap of luxury laughing all the way to the bank.
What should happen is that their 'packages' should get curtailed and they should have to file for unemployment as well, no matter their financial status. Just to have it in public record that they were fired, or quit.
Now, is this a slam on rich people? Absolutely not. I love the rich. I love people that participate in society and give to help others. Do I think that Teachers should be paid more? Oh yes. Do I think that Sports puts their people way too high on a pedastal? Ask OJ how the food in Jail is now that he's there. Ask Michael Vick what he thinks of life in the IronBarHotel. Is it 5Star service that he gets? Or can he sit down after a meal?
So what does all of this have to do with me wanting to be CEO of Yahoo Inc? Simple. Years ago I was challenged to run for CEO of a major computer company. During the time of being interviewed for that by some reporters I was asked what I would do the job for money-wise. I said $88,000 for a year. They laughed at me. Sure it was a low figure, but people focus on the money too much. Now our country is questioning why companies pay CEO's millions and millions of dollars to do what they do and why would I do something for such a low price back then?
Because it was not about the money. It was about the company, the people, the products, the clients and the investors. That was 1997, the company was Apple. The person I was challenged to run against was my ex-boss at PIXAR, Steve Jobs. When I left PIXAR in 1997 and left in $ value considering my options were granted at a pre-IPO price, right around 2 Million dollars on the table to help encourage Steve to go back to Apple and become CEO again. How many people would do that for something they believe in? Not many.
Do I believe in Yahoo enough to sacrifice anything? Yes. I already have and they're jockeying around courting others when they should be calling me to schedule my move-in to the top office.
I have put my name out there. I have offered to take on this position for a price that NO other CEO will. $2 Million after taxes with full benefits package offered normally, minus the golden parachute option.
Why? Because Yahoo is so much more than a turn-around opportunity. It's more than a chance to add another notch into the turn around belt. It's people. It's great products/services. It's clients. And lastly, it's Investors. Many CEO's get that order mixed up. They put Investors first, forgetting that without all of the other things, there is nothing for investors to invest in.
If I were Jerry Yang, I would have asked myself, is this Microsoft deal good for the people of the company? (they are investors as well). The answer was really "Yes, but only in the short term". In the end it would have meant the gradual erosion of Yahoo into nothingness. Yahoo would have just become another Microsoft property and gradually would have disappeared from the map. Search would have been trashed by Microsoft's people as MSN search was after they stopped licensing Google's results, and Google would be the only place to get search results from, save a few insignificant search engines.
Jerry stepped down. I am ready to step in. I just need the current Board and Management Team at Yahoo to step up with a contract for 2 years and that $2 million in pay plus benefits and we can be off turning the company around, creating new partnerships/relationships and opportunities for Yahoo as a company. I have some great ideas, but they're staying with me until I am CEO of that company. When that happens...Life will be better for all involved.
Thanks for taking time to read.
Michael Murdock, CEO
Check out http://www.docmurdock.com/yahoo.htm for more on me as CEO of Yahoo