Potent Quotables

Yahoo’s Lead Designer ‘Admits the Company Needs to Change’

A day after news of the internet giant's forthcoming restructuring efforts breaks, uh, you think?

yahoo social Yahoos Lead Designer Admits the Company Needs to ChangeA few weeks ago, we took note of Yahoo’s failed attempt at unloading some major assets, namely a massive stake in Chinese internet monolith Alibaba, and Yahoo! Japan, both of which were weighing heavy on the company’s books. The result of the failed deal? For one thing, we wondered if the lobbying firm retained in Washington DC by Alibaba—who Yahoo was going to sell their stake of the company back to in the failed deal—wasn’t about to get busy in a bid for control of Yahoo, seeing as how a Chinese telecom giant owning an American Internet company won’t sit pretty on first sight with…a lot of people.

For another, Yahoo’s stock took a hit, reaching a three-month low not a week later.

And now, according to All Things D’s Kara Swisher, we’re about to watch another seismic shift in Yahoo’s operations, in the form of corporate restructuring and layoffs. In fewer words: This is about to get ugly.

Swisher reported this morning (emphasis ours):

According to multiple sources both inside and outside the Silicon Valley Internet giant, Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson is preparing a massive restructuring of the company, including layoffs that are likely to number in the thousands. Much of the change — which could be announced as soon as the end of this month — is being aimed at Yahoo’s large products organization, as well as other arenas in which the company has lagged. Also among those being considered for targeting: Public relations and marketing, research, marginal businesses and weaker regional efforts.

Shares of Yahoo only took a ten-cent hit today, but they won’t be helped at all when this Economic Times report comes out. Yahoo’s head of design, Tim Parsey, did not have his words given the kindest of contexts by the paper:

A year into his stint at Yahoo, Parsey admits that the company needs to change – and change majorly. As the Valley-based net giant grew across geographies and businesses, it failed to create a standardised technology base and that needs to change, Parsey told ET in an interaction. Yahoo, says Parsey, has thus far been a collection of disparate Internet properties.

There’s nothing in the quotes to indicate he said anything exactly like that, but it is the second paragraph of the story. The most significant quote, from Parsey:

I’m building a culture of design that is rational, emotional and meaningful,” said Parsey who believes that the evolution of design in the digital space is set to go to the next level. He has been visiting India and his team in Bangalore at least once every three months for the last year.

One can imagine he’ll be getting a call from corporate on this.

If Swisher’s report is accurate, though, it probably won’t be nearly as bad as some of the calls other Yahoo employees will be receiving in the weeks to come.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

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