Yahoo reportedly near decision on new CEO

Search pioneer is said to be wrapping up its search for a new chief executive, and a decision could come as early as next week.

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Yahoo is said to be wrapping up its search for a new chief executive, and a decision could come as early as next week, according to a report late Thursday in The Wall Street Journal, citing people close to the search pioneer.

Yahoo's board is reportedly leaning toward a candidate from outside the company, the newspaper reported. Carol Bartz, former chief executive officer of engineering software company Autodesk, is considered a candidate, the Journal reported.

From inside the company, Yahoo President Sue Decker is considered a strong candidate for the position, people familiar with executive search say. Decker has undergone two full rounds of in-depth interviews with Yahoo's board, according to sources.

At least one influential Microsoft source noted that Decker is well regarded at the software giant, even though the two companies weren't able to strike a full buyout deal or a partial one for just the search business.

For Yahoo, naming Decker as CEO could potentially bode well for its efforts to quickly reignite takeover talks with Microsoft, given that an outside hire would need time to analyze the various aspects of Yahoo's businesses before holding discussions to potentially sell off parts of the company.

Other outside candidates have reportedly included former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin, whose expertise with the carrier could have come in handy in righting Yahoo's failed effort to win the Verizon search business. But Sarin is reportedly no longer interested in being Yahoo's CEO.

Yahoo announced on November 17 that co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang would step down and resume the role of chief Yahoo once a new CEO is selected. In the meantime, Yahoo is nearing its two-month mark in its search.