Yahoo's CEO: Not Talking Like Your Typical Chief Executive

On Monday (May 24), Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz took to the stage in New York City at a TechCrunch event and participated in an on-stage interview. The exchange was lively and interesting, with Bartz speaking about Yahoo's plans and innovation efforts. But near the end of the interview, when asked again about Yahoo's innovations versus Apple, Bartz answered in a way not typical for the CEO of a $6.5 billion publicly held company: She told interviewer Mike Arrington to "f-ck off" and then added "this time, I meant it." (That particular exchange happens near the very end of this video clip.)

Bartz has a well-deserved reputation for direct (some might say salty) language, but most CEOs pull back a little in a videotaped interview in front of a large audience. Her remark wasn't made in the heat of anger, so we can assume it was a calculated comment. If you look at shorter clips from the event, Bartz comes across as defensive. But in the context of the complete interview, her unhappiness is clearly based on repeated comparisons with Apple and despite her having given a lengthy list of Yahoo's innovations.