Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jerry needs to sharpen his resume

The local papers and websites have been full of coverage of how mad Yahoo shareholders are at being told that $33 is not enough for a stock now trading at $25. AP has a Microsoft leak showing that the last-minute raise to $33 was a credible offer. Now there is talk of a fight for the board of directors, not by Microsoft but by shareholders.

The blog site ValleyWag has wall-to-wall coverage, but my favorite posting came from a reader comment by “pleinad”:

You know what? I am hearing the 3 envelope story...a fictitious story of course...yet again:

Jerry had just been hired as the new CEO of a large corporation. The CEO who was stepping down (Terry) met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. "Open one of these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," he said. Well, things went along pretty smoothly at the beginning, but later, stock price were down and he was really catching a lot of heat.

About at his wits end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor." The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame, forcing a bunch of former execs to quit and gave a 100 day plan. Satisfied with his comments, the press and Wall Street responded positively, things began to pick up and the was soon behind him.

100 days later, the company was again experiencing a dip in growth expectation, combined with perceived strategy issues. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the stock price rebounded.

After several more months, the company once again got into trouble with shareholder issues with his performance. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope. The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."

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