Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Silicon Valley Stories: How Scott McNealy Made Room At The Top For Carol Bartz ( . . . Now At Yahoo)

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 23, 2009

[SDForum visionary awards are later this week. Here is a series SVW is plublishing this week on Silicon Valley stories from previous SDForum awards events.]

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From 2005:

Scott McNealy, Sun's CEO, introduced Carol Bartz, CEO of Autodesk.

Mr McNealy was in classic form, dressed in his signature jeans, white shirt ,and navy blue blazer, and he shared a couple of anecdotes about Ms. Bartz, who used to work at Sun.

He recalls that Ms Bartz stomped into his office and resigned because of a generous job offer from a rival firm. Mr McNealy acted swiftly: He walked down the corridor and into the office of his VP of Marketing and said "You're fired."

He walked back over to Ms Bartz and said "You can't resign, you're VP of Marketing." What happened to Lloyd? Ms Bartz asked.

"Lloyd is no longer with us," deadpanned Mr McNealy. Lots of laughter.

Mr McNealy, encouraged by the audience response, forged ahead and started to talk about Ms. Bartz "spawning," at which point he was hooked off the podium. A gracious Ms. Bartz gave him a "you naughty boy" look.

Ms. Bartz said that the firing incident was her first introduction to how the valley works; but since then (1983) she has come to thrive on being here, relishing the incredible ecosystem, creativity, and describing the region as "nirvana."

She jabbed good-heartedly at SOX, investors, and over-zealous boards of directors, to much amusement; but then she tore a new one in "flat worlders," Thomas Friedman and his ilk (critics of globalization), saying that she didn't care much for that point of view.

"Does anybody remember when we used to outsource to Huntsville and Kentucky," she asked?

Please see: SDForum Visionary Awards - Before Walt Mossberg Became Walt Mossberg . . .

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