Inside Yahoo, word is that Levinsohn's the one

Leaks within the rank-and-file point to the imminent coronation of Ross Levinsohn as official Yahoo CEO.

Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. Greg Sandoval/CNET

Updated at 4:23 PM ET

Wishful thinking or loose lips? It's impossible to know for certain, but word inside Yahoo is spreading that the board intends to officially appoint Ross Levinsohn as CEO, perhaps as early as next week.

A shocker? Hardly.

The shocker would be if Yahoo's board chose someone other than Levinsohn, who has been the interim grand poobah since Scott Thompson stepped down as CEO this past spring. After a week of leaks floating the names of other possible candidates, Yahoo's board can claim to have done due diligence, and thus avoid criticism for making a hasty and poorly vetted choice. Coincidentally, Hulu said that Jason Kilar, who was mentioned as a possible Yahoo CEO candidate, "has graciously declined to be considered."

As the internal grapevine begins to fill up with chatter of Levinsohn's apparent selection, insiders are welcoming the rumor. "Ross is going to be named permanent CEO next week, which we all think is the good choice," according to one source. "Plus, Ross is a media guy -- good for the strategy that seems to be emerging now. They're talking more and more about media."

For the record, Yahoo is not commenting. But the latest news narrative suggests that the clincher may be today's apparent announcement of peace in our time with Facebook and Yahoo said to have settled their contentious patent litigation. Yahoo sued Facebook in March, arguing that the company's "entire social network model" was based on patented Yahoo technology. Facebook countersued a month later over 10 more patents.

"He's the No. 1 digital media strategist in the market," said Adam Charlson, the west coast managing director of the executive recruitment firm, DHR International. "The board had to show they were doing something like that but I think that Levensohn is the obvious choice."

Meanwhile, AllThingsD is reporting that Levinsohn was Yahoo's chief negotiator in the company's efforts to settle the litigation with Facebook. From the get-go this lawsuit engendered scorn within a tight-knit Silicon Valley community. Assuming they sides can successfully bury the dispute, the company will clear away one of its biggest image problems. And that might be reason enough to alter Levinsohn's title from `interim' to official CEO.

Update: And so now it's official: Peace in our time, the Yahoo-Facebook way.

 

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