SAN JOSE, Calif. — Yahoo Inc. searched for a new
chief executive officer for more than three months, but finally landed
on an executive who worked just a few miles away — PayPal President
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo announced Wednesday
that the San Jose online-payments company’s leader will take the chair
vacated by Carol Bartz, whom Yahoo fired in September after a
disappointing two-and-a-half-year stint.
Since that firing, Yahoo has been investigating
selling all or part of the company in order to bring in cash, both to
improve the bottom line and return some cash to shareholders, who have
seen their equity drop steadily for years.
Roy Bostock, chairman of Yahoo’s board of directors,
said in a conference call Wednesday morning that Thompson will be
expected to help the company return to its former industry-leading
position while ensuring advertising dollars continue to flow.
Thompson will “restore the energy, the focus and the
momentum necessary to grow the core business,” Bostock said, later
adding that the new CEO “knows how to reach out to customers, find out
what they need and what they want, and he will do that with our
Yahoo lost its display advertising crown to Facebook
in 2011, and has also been losing market share to fast-rising Google in
the competitive and lucrative field, according to analytics firm
Thompson focused on Yahoo’s strong employee base and
possibility for growth in his pledge to “deliver Yahoo’s next era of
“Yahoo is an industry icon, and its people represent
one of the great teams in the online world,” Thompson said in
Wednesday’s conference call, later adding that “there’s a wealth of
talent inside this organization, and its talent respected in the
Thompson was PayPal’s chief technology officer and
senior vice president before being named president in January 2008.
Before joining the company, which is wholly owned by eBay Inc., he was
executive vice president of technology solutions at Inovant, a
subsidiary of Visa, and chief information officer for Barclays Global
Investors, according to a Yahoo news release.
Thompson will now manage Yahoo through some possible
large changes, as Bostock said that the review the company is
undergoing, which has reportedly included taking bids from outside firms
for all or part of the company, is ongoing.
“Whatever alternatives we are looking at as part of
our comprehensive review, there will be no slowdown and no delay in our
process,” Bostock said.
Yahoo is reportedly considering bids from at least
two groups, including one led by Silver Lake, Microsoft Corp. and
Andreesen Horowitz. In addition, Chinese Internet leader Alibaba is
considering making a bid for all of Yahoo, which owns 40 percent of the
Brett Harriss, an analyst at Gabelli & Co., told
Bloomberg News that Thompson’s hire makes it more doubtful that Yahoo
will be sold in its entirety.
“Hiring a new CEO makes the sale of the whole company unlikely,” he told Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Bostock and Thompson mentioned growing shareholder
value several time in this conference call, as the company’s share price
continues to struggle. Thompson said one of his top goals will be
“growing shareholder value and top-line growth of the business.”
Bostock admitted that Yahoo’s growth has been stagnant, but said he expects Thompson to energize the company.
“We have treaded water here, and what we need to do is start swimming again at a very fast clip,” he said.
Tim Morse has been serving as interim CEO since Bartz
was fired in September, but will return to his previous role as chief
financial officer when Thompson officially takes over Monday.
©2012 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
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