Kara Swisher adds a few more names to the Yahoo-CEO candidate list. The new folks have a lot of management experience, but no Internet or media experience.
Yahoo definitely needs a good, objective operator, but selling media and ads is different than selling gadgets, and we’re sceptical that these new folks have the right experience. Kara Swisher:
[M]y guess is that the choice of a new CEO is likely to be sooner than later and much more Icahn-friendly.
That could point more clearly to perhaps one of two execs whom Icahn brought with him to the Yahoo (YHOO) board–either former media exec Frank Biondi Jr. or, more likely, former Nextel exec John Chapple.
Another theory is that Yahoo will pick a more low-key, tech-oriented outsider, an operational star who can get things turned around at Yahoo without a lot of fuss, similar to choices made for eBay (EBAY) in its pick of John Donahoe and Mark Hurd at Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently.
One of the names being bandied about in that regard is H-P exec Todd Bradley.
Bradley is in charge of its massive Personal Systems group, a $28 billion annual business, which include personal computers, mobile devices, technical workstations, digital televisions, personal storage solutions and Internet services.
Interestingly, another top H-P exec Vyomesh (VJ) Yoshi, who runs its Imaging and Printing group, is currently a director on the Yahoo board.
Frank Biondi has plenty of media experience, having run Viacom before getting canned by Sumner Redstone. Traditional media is very different from online media, so we would worry about him bringing preconceptions to the job (just as Terry Semel did). That said, we think Yahoo should move toward more of a media-aggregation model, and it’s possible that Frank’s experience would be a big plus here.
We know nothing about Todd Bradley. We can’t help but notice a resemblance to “PC” in the Mac “PC/Mac” ads. The “Personal Systems” experience sounds tangentially relevant, but there would definitely be a big learning curve.
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