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It's a done deal: Icahn on Yahoo board

Icahn gets his agreed-upon Yahoo board seat and a role picking his two allies. Will that discussion be as civil as Icahn and Yahoo's recent words for each other?

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read

Now the fireworks and fractiousness can officially move inside Yahoo: activist investor Carl Icahn is part of the Internet company's board.

Icahn had tried to take over the entire board in July, but settled for a seat of his own and for two of his allies. In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Yahoo said Icahn is officially on the board, replacing Robert Kotick as planned.

Carl Icahn
Carl Icahn is Yahoo's newest board member.

One of Icahn's first roles on the board will be to help pick the two allies who will join him. The new appointments are set to be announced by August 15, increasing Yahoo's board from nine to eleven members.

Icahn owns about 5 percent of Yahoo's shares.

Yahoo's board is no place for a someone in search of a sinecure. The board met thirty times in the six months between Microsoft's announcement of its desire to acquire Yahoo and Friday's shareholder meeting.

And there's plenty of pressure still to come. After that meeting, the board might have been breathing a sigh of relief when vote results showed shareholder dissatisfaction had lessened from 2007. But a recount of the Yahoo vote actually showed strong dissatisfaction: 39.6 percent withheld votes to re-elect Chairman Roy Bostock and 33.7 percent withheld votes for Chief Executive Jerry Yang.

Those numbers could help bring some weight to whatever reforms Icahn has to suggest. The interpersonal dynamics of the board are sure to change, but it's not yet clear how. For the time being, though, both Icahn and Yahoo are presenting an image of collegiality and civility.

Despite Icahn's earlier request that Yang step down, Yang said he welcomes Icahn's "fresh perspective,", and at the board meeting, Bostock said the board looks forward to Icahn's arrival. "Carl is a good guy, despite some of the things written about him. He'll be a very productive member," Bostock said.

Icahn, who skipped the shareholder meeting, last week called Yang and Bostock "gentlemen" and said he hoped working together "will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."