Yahoo Elects New Leadership as Thompson Steps DownBy: Shawn Hess - May 14, 2012
As I reported earlier today, Scott Thompson has decided to step down at Yahoo as CEO citing recently discovered health problems as the main reason. Some may say it comes at very convenient time as he was actively trying to sidestep accusations that he purposefully provided false academic credentials both at his previous job at PayPal and for the position of acting CEO at Yahoo.
The accusations came in the form of as a letter from Yahoo activist shareholder Dan Loeb and his investment firm Third Point. They have been fighting for more control at the Yahoo board of directors since the current leadership passed over on a deal with Microsoft which could have made shareholders a lot of money.
Today Yahoo has announced new leadership to their board and a new chief executive officer. Effective immediately Ross Levinsohn will stand as the interim CEO and Fred Amoroso will hold the position of Chairman on the Yahoo Board of Directors. Amoroso replaces Roy Bostock, who recently agreed to step down from his role in order to accelerate the changes at Yahoo.
The appointments are part of a settlement with Third Point and also includes the addition of Daniel S. Loeb, Harry J. Wilson, and Michael J. Wolf to the Yahoo board. Board members Patti Hart, VJ Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson have also agreed to resign their positions at the firm early to make room for the new members.
Fred Amoroso, new chairman of the board of directors comments on the changes at Yahoo:
“The Board is pleased to announce these changes and the settlement with Third Point, and is confident that they will serve the best interests of our shareholders and further accelerate the substantial advances the Company has made operationally and organizationally since last August. The Board believes in the strength of the Company’s business and assets, and in the opportunities before us, and I am honored to work closely with my fellow directors and Ross to continue to drive Yahoo! forward,”
“On behalf of the entire Board, I would also like to thank Patti, VJ, Arthur, Gary and, in particular, Roy, for their dedicated long-term service and contributions to the Board and Yahoo!.”
Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point comments on his addition to the Yahoo board:
“Harry, Michael and I are delighted to join the Yahoo! Board and work collaboratively with our fellow directors to foster a culture of leadership dedicated to innovation, excellence in corporate governance, and responsiveness to users, advertisers and partners. We are confident this Board will benefit from shareholder representation, and we are committed to working with new leadership to unlock Yahoo!’s significant potential and value.”
Third Point Director Nominee Jeff Zucker adds to the sentiment:
“I have been supportive of Third Point’s efforts since Daniel asked me to join the slate. When I became aware of Yahoo!’s offer of three board seats to Third Point, I approached Daniel and let him know that I would be happy to step aside to quickly facilitate a settlement. I believe that it is in Yahoo!’s best interests to avoid a prolonged proxy fight and have new board members immediately to help move the company forward. While there is clearly much work to be done, this is the right combination of talented executives to do just that.”
There’s in no word yet on if Yahoo will fight now resigned CEO Thompson’s claim that he is leaving on account of medical issues. Disputing the claim could save Yahoo millions of dollars in severance pay. Yahoo’s code of ethic requires that each employee be responsible for the accurate listing of their biographical information.
So it looks like the layoffs were only the beginning of the changes at Yahoo. No doubt this new board will be introducing some drastic deviations from Thompson’s original plan of action for the rest of 2012. We’ll keep you posted as things continue to evolve over at Yahoo.