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Yahoo! CEO: “Thank God for Tiger Woods.”

If you are a PR exec at Yahoo™, then you have great job security thanks to Carol Bartz the CEO. The tough as nails talent has made it her business to keep Yahoo! fresh and competitive. But she’s got a mouth on her and no semblance of a censor.

Yesterday, at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Carol Bartz discussed the positive impact of the Tiger Woods scandal on business at the Silicon Valley company. The audience laughed of course, as she shared the increase in search activity. I can only imagine how the scandal impacts the daily business. But she went one step further: “This is better than Michael Jackson dying.”

Say what? Today’s news machine guarantees that the comment will spread like wildfire through print, web and even on the often one-hour-behind-Twitter TV. Reportedly, there was still laughter in the room but more than a few raised eyebrows. I want to see how the spin machine will craft a strategy for this one, and the gaffes to come. This makes Bartz dropping the “F” bomb earlier this year during the earnings call appear to be a test drive.

Bartz isn’t the first CEO to to use colorful language (even after she’s warned.) Nor is she unique in her appreciation of all things news regardless of the nature of the story. But in the age of transparency, off the cuff comments now travel outside the room or city at the speed of light. The communications cleanup crew is left to give these statements context. It’s nearly impossible to erase verbal mistakes or ill-advised text messages. If Bartz remains successful, we are guaranteed to hear more of her authentic response. Yahoo’s PR team had better be well prepped with new brooms as they try to sweep these things under the rug.

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This entry was posted on 12/10/2009 by in All About the Business and tagged , , , , .
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