Investor activist who targeted Yahoo is at it again

Eric Jackson, the man who asked Yahoo CEO Terry Semel if he had a "fire in the belly" for his job, is preparing to launch a new Internet-based campaign against another under-performing company.

Eric Jackson helped lead an investor revolt at Yahoo that presaged last month's resignation of former CEO Terry Semel. Don't look now corporate America, but Jackson is again poised to launch his own brand of Web-powered investor activism on a new target.

The CEO of a Naples, Fla.,-based consulting company, Jackson is not ready to disclose which company he's setting his sites on next, but he said Tuesday he plans to announce the name in coming weeks. This much is certain: The man, who challenged Semel during a recent stockholder meeting by asking him to apologize for Yahoo's lackluster performance, will try to rally disgruntled investors via the Internet.

Jackson 's strategy is simple. His goal is to extend the influence of small investors by helping them band together on the Internet. With Yahoo, he launched his grassroots movement in January by attacking Semel in a video he posted to YouTube. He then took to blogging and exchanged ideas with other investors about Yahoo's failings on a wiki.

"Web 2.0 has taught us that the collective is smarter than any one person," Jackson said. "We're hoping there is going to be a lot of interactivity (with the upcoming campaign). It won't just be Eric Jackson's ideas. I want to get the ball rolling and get a lot of people contributing."

It's hard to say for certain what impact Jackson's efforts had on Semel's decision to leave, but Yahoo's board was re-elected last month with only 66 percent approval. Typically boards receive between 80 percent to 90 percent approval.

Poor-performing executive teams should take note. Jackson just might represent a new breed of investor activist, one with a loaded Internet quiver.

 

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