UPDATE: It’s official. Ross Levinsohn is Yahoo’s interim CEO.
EARLIER: It’s the most thankless job in tech: CEO of Yahoo.
Now Ross Levinsohn is expected to be named Yahoo’s CEO on an interim basis, with the board expected to announce Scott Thompson’s departure shortly.
He’ll be the company’s sixth CEO in five years.
So who’s Levinsohn?
He’s best known for his time running Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp. division which formerly owned MySpace and a host of other online properties.
Under his watch, Fox bought Myspace for $580 million—then inked a $900 million search deal with Google. Shortly afterwards, he left News Corp. to become a venture capitalist at Fuse Capital.
So he’s got a good sense of timing.
Before News Corp., he worked in positions at CBS and HBO.
He joined Yahoo in November 2010 and oversees the company’s North American media and advertising businesses.
So his reputation in the Valley is primarily as a media guy. If he’s to be more than just Yahoo’s interim CEO, he’ll need to convince Yahoo’s restive engineers and product managers that he has tech chops, too—and persuade Wall Street that Yahoo deserves the kind of multiple assigned to tech companies, not slow-growth media concerns.
Some in tech are bullish on Levinsohn.
Former Twitter executive Josh Elman, now a principal at Greylock, thinks Levinsohn is the right person for the job.
“Ross could attract strong [product and engineering] talent” as Yahoo CEO, Elman tweeted over the weekend, before Sunday’s news.
“The problem there is overcoming a long time of empty (and changing) promises,” Elman added. “That worries me more.”
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