We have great respect for Jerry Yang, but we think he should step aside and hire a stronger CEO. Jerry is not an operator, and Yahoo needs an operator. More importantly, Jerry has lost the support of many at the company. One source reports that many of Yahoo’s senior managers are waiting around until the shareholder meeting to see what happens–and, if nothing changes, are planning to leave the company.
This does not mean we think shareholders should support Carl Icahn’s slate in the proxy fight. We don’t. We think decapitating Yahoo at this juncture would be a disaster: The multi-month CEO search combined with the multi-month getting-up-to-speed process would be the death-knell for the company. And, although we think Yahoo should revisit the latest Microsoft search offer, we think an Icahn-run Yahoo would have no negotiating leverage.
We think Jerry should voluntarily offer to step aside and initiate a search for a new CEO, and we think he should do it soon (preferably before the shareholder meeting).
We think the new CEO needs the following:
- Major operating experience, preferably including turnaround experience
- Deep Internet expertise and relationships (the company can’t afford to wait six months for a gee-whiz education process)
- Demonstrated ability to both fire AND inspire people
- Demonstrated ability to inspire confidence in investors and partners
- Clear strategic vision for the company
Unfortunately, there are relatively few candidates who meet these criteria, and there are no obvious choices. We have proposed some candidates below, several of which are obviously controversial. Now we need your help.
What do you think of these names? Who are we missing? Who should Yahoo consider? Please include as much logic as possible, and we’ll add the compelling suggestions and feedback to our list below. Please hurry: Yahoo can’t afford to wait…
YAHOO CEO CANDIDATES
Bob Pittman. A talented, driven, and highly experienced media operator who turned around AOL in the mid-1990s and built it into a powerhouse. Deep understanding of consumers, brands, and advertising. Extremely demanding and obsessed with meeting financial targets. Not afraid to restructure the company or fire thousands of people. Failed at integrating AOL and Time Warner, but anyone would have.
Dan Rosensweig. Former Yahoo COO. Plenty of operational experience, albeit at the helm of smaller companies. Deeply connected in the industry. Detached enough to be able to provide a fresh look, and, we expect, make the tough decisions.
Sue Decker. Most people we talk to say Sue’s days at Yahoo are nearly done–in part because of her own decisions and in part because she’s so closely associated with Jerry. If we were in charge of Yahoo’s CEO search, however, we would want to hear what Sue has to say about this. She is light on operational experience, which may be a fatal weakness. But she knows the company and industry cold, she’s smart as hell, and she is capable of inspiring great confidence.
Jon Miller. Made bold decisions at helm of AOL during a hellish period, and undoubtedly learned much from the experience. Knows industry, media, and Yahoo cold.
Jeff Weiner. Well-respected within Yahoo and departure perceived as a major loss. We do not know enough about his strategic and operational abilities to have a clear opinion here.
More to come…
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