Leadership by Geoff Colvin

Sue Decker moves on from Yahoo

January 13, 2009: 6:01 PM ET

Sue Decker is leaving Yahoo (YHOO). The news broke Tuesday afternoon just as Yahoo announced that its board has chosen former Autodesk (ADSK) chief Carol Bartz as the company's new CEO. As Yahoo's president, Decker was the lone Yahoo insider who was a strong candidate in the CEO search. And she wanted the job. But Yahoo's poor performance and her loyalty to outgoing chief Jerry Yang damaged her reputation too badly.

dsc_1622That doesn't mean that Decker, 46, won't land a good gig elsewhere. She has unusual breadth of experience given her seats on the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), Costco (COST) and Intel (INTC) boards. (She's on the Intel board with Bartz.) Decker was also a director at Pixar until Disney's (DIS) 2006 acquisition of Steve Jobs' film company. That impressive resume, in fact, landed Decker a spot on the 2008 Fortune Most Powerful Women list, though Yahoo's foibles pulled her ranking to No. 39 from No. 20 in 2007.

Once a Wall Street analyst who covered advertising stocks, she's a finance ace and could get a job as a CFO at another Fortune 500 company. But she's already done the CFO job at Yahoo. I know from talking with Decker that she prefers running a business, and probably a big one. No question she'll tap one of her fans, Warren Buffett, to help her get her career back on track. Especially in this job market, that's a fine fan to have.pattie-signature8

P.S. Click here to read the post I wrote about Decker last November.

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Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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