If not Scott Thompson, then who? A short list for Yahoo CEO change (photos)
Pressure mounts on Yahoo's board after CEO Scott Thompson was found to have fudged his resume. We look some possible replacement execs.
Yahoo soon to search out new CEO?
The fun never stops at Yahoo, the source of Silicon Valley's longest-running soap opera. In the latest episode, a major shareholder is demanding that the company fire CEO Scott Thompson. The reason: It was discovered Thompson had fudged his resume, falsely claiming to have a computer science degree. He's "only" got an accounting diploma.
The investor group, New York-based Third Point, on May 4 sent a stern letter to Yahoo's board demanding that it dump Thompson by noon on May 7. That deadline has come and gone, and so far Yahoo's board has merely formed a "special committee" to review Thompson's academic credentials. But if the board does get around to making a more drastic move, it's not slim pickings out there when it comes to possible replacements. So let the speculation start.
Editors' note: This slideshow was originally published May 4 at 2:10 p.m. PT. It has been updated since then with additional information and photos.
They won't need to pay a headhunter's fee for this one. Yahoo Executive Vice President Ross Levinsohn has a beaucoups big job and more than enough experience to win consideration as a future CEO candidate. He did a bang-up job for Rupert Murdoch as head of Fox Interactive and is waiting for his chance to run the entire kit and caboodle -- either at Yahoo or someplace else.
Beats me why Yahoo's board selected Carol Bartz over Dan Rosensweig the last time around, but the mysterious decision-making group of the company's directors qualifies as the proverbial riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Rosensweig understands media and the Internet better than most -- he's been doing Silicon Valley stuff since the late 1990s -- and nowadays he's Chegg's CEO. Full disclosure: He once was my boss at ZDNet, though I don't hold that against him. More important, he was Yahoo's COO between 2002 and 2007 and knows the company inside out. Would Yahoo be willing to go with someone so closely identified with ousted-CEO Terry Semel? That's the $64,000 question.
This gent's already had a brief fling with the corner office at Yahoo. Meet Tim Morse, Yahoo's chief financial officer who served as interim CEO for several months after Carol Bartz was fired in September 2011 until Thompson came on board to start this year. He's got some diverse experience -- before joining Yahoo in 2009, he spent two years at chipmaker Altera and 15 years at General Electric. Third Point seems OK with him, and with Rosenzweig, at least in the short term. On May 9, the investor group urged Yahoo to appoint either one -- immediately -- as an interim CEO to replace Thompson.
Peter Chernin's name as a possible Yahoo CEO received serious attention after Carol Bartz got the boot. He's a heavy hitter who brings with him strong media savvy. If he wants it, the track record is there, featuring a couple of incredibly successful decades at News Corp. -- including noteworthy stints running Twentieth Century Fox and Fox Broadcasting. As happenstance would have it, Fortune reported last year that Chernin was involved with an investor group considering a purchase of Yahoo.
David Kenny is another highly regarded executive whose name could find itself back in the spotlight. He once was considered to be a front-runner for the Yahoo spot following Carol Bartz's ouster. Now CEO of The Weather Channel Cos., Kenny also served as president at Akamai and remains a board member at Yahoo. Although he had been mentioned frequently as a replacement CEO the last time Yahoo's top job was open, he took himself out of the running.
Chris Liddell was mentioned as a possible CEO candidate the last time Yahoo went looking. The former CFO of Microsoft, Liddell also served a brief stint as CFO at General Motors. Heidrick & Struggles, which took charge of the previous Yahoo CEO search, is already familiar with Liddell. So if Yahoo announces a change at the top, the Liddell file may get a second look.
Michael Arrington for CEO? Heck, why not? So he lost his mano a womano duel with Arianna Huffington. What a way to revive that blood sport. Just think of the headlines. Besides, the guy's already got the business cards and online resume all polished up and ready to go. Plus, it's been too damned quiet without him.
OK, we're just kidding. Still, it would be sorta fun, wouldn't it?