It’s Official: Yahoo Appoints PayPal President Scott Thompson Its New CEO
On January 04, 2012, Yahoo! officially announced that PayPal President Scott Thompson will be Yahoo! new CEO with effect from January 09, 2012. Yahoo! has been looking for a leader with profound technology and product background, following its sudden termination of former CEO Carol Bartz in September 2011. Following the termination, Yahoo CFO Tim Morse has been serving as the interim CEO. Morse will now continue as the company’s CFO.
The new Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has rich and diverse background of being PayPal’s CTO before becoming its president. Before that, Thompson worked at a technology subsidiary of Visa; and before that, he was the CIO of Barclays Global Investors. With such diverse skills and abilities, Thompson is considered the best choice for Yahoo!
The Path Ahead for Yahoo
Expectations from the new CEO Thompson are lofty at Yahoo! According to Yahoo board chairman Roy Bostock, “Scott brings to Yahoo! a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo.” Thompson acknowledges the new responsibilities with, “Yahoo! is an industry icon and I am very excited about the prospect of working with one of the great teams in the online world to deliver Yahoo!’s next era of success.” He adds, “Yahoo! has a rich history and a solid foundation to build on, and its continued user engagement is one of the many reasons for my enthusiasm,”
As the new CEO, Thompson is also expected to bring innovation, new vigor and focus to the company and the brand. Thompson is also expected to lead with a long-term strategy and push the strategic review process or sale talks forward. Before Thompson’s appointment, Yahoo had plans to sell the entire company or at least a part of it. However, after the appointment, Yahoo plans to sell only its Asian assets (stake in Yahoo Japan and Chinese Alibaba). While the sales deal is expected to be highly lucrative (amounting to billions), questions regarding its funding and having to pay huge taxes in America still remain.
Challenges and Opportunities
A key challenge for Thompson as the new CEO is to focus on stabilizing Yahoo. This might be a challenge because online advertising market leaders, Google and Facebook, have almost replaced Yahoo’s dominance in display advertising. So, Thompson will have to work on regaining this position, even though he is not a media or an advertising executive. However, this shortfall is easily compensated with the skills of Yahoo EVPs Ross Levinsohn and Blake Irving.
Yet another opportunity for Yahoo is the mobile segment. While Yahoo’s early leadership in mobile product development and advertising has been almost entirely removed by Google, Thompson is expected to re-erect yahoo’s stature in the market. Thompson’s wide experience in the mobile market will certainly come in useful to achieve this goal. Given Thompson’s skills, capabilities and knowledge and temperament, the new CEO is expected to be perfect fit for Yahoo!
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