Yahoo's Chairman Is Out Because Marissa Mayer Was Not His First Choice For CEO

Yahoo just announced that chairman Fred Amoroso will step down in June.


We’ve communicated with three Yahoo sources since the news broke.

Given what they told us, we think this why Amoroso is out:

  • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wasn’t his first choice for CEO. The day after Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson was booted from the company, following allegations that he lied on his resume, Amoroso stood up at an all-employee meeting at Yahoo and said that Ross Levinsohn was going to be interim CEO, and that he should be the permanent CEO. Then Yahoo hired Marissa Mayer to be Yahoo’s permanent CEO. The minute that happened, the clock started ticking on Amoroso.
  • Amoroso was first appointed to the board by Roy Bostock, the former chairman of Yahoo. Lots of people, including current Yahoo board members, blame Bostock for running a slow-moving board that allowed Yahoo to get into the horrible situation it is now. This board is in the process of being turned over. Amoroso was a Bostock guy, and that meant he was going to be gone eventually.
  • It is widely thought among senior Yahoo executives that Amoroso was the person who convinced Yahoo to enter into a disastrous patent lawsuit against Facebook last year. People at Yahoo think this because Amoroso comes from Rovi, which gets a lot of revenue from suing other companies based on patent infringements.
  • Amoroso was only chairman in name, anyway. As early as last summer, a source close to Yahoo directors told us that one really calling the shots on the board was hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, the guy who led a proxy charge against Yahoo after taking a 5% stake in the company.

Other details:

  • Interim chairman LiveOps CEO Maynard Webb is not likely to become the permanent chairman. Neither is Dan Loeb. If that were going to happen it would have happened by now. Our bet: Mayer gets the nod soon enough.
  • There is gossip that Amoroso is stepping down in part due to health problems. Apparently, he has issues with his eyes. We don’t buy it. 

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