Scott Thompson steps into Bartz’s shoes, but can he turn around Yahoo’s fortunes?
Scott Thompson, Yahoo CEO. Photo credit: Reuters/PayPal.
Beleaguered Internet giant Yahoo has appointed PayPal president Scott Thompson as its new CEO, four months after sacking Carol Bartz.
During his time at online payment firm PayPal Robinson saw its user base grow from 50 million to 104 million and revenue surge from $1.8bn to over $4bn in 2011. He joined the company is 2008.
Tim Morse, who had been running Yahoo on an interim basis, will return to his role as chief financial officer, the company announced.
Thompson will be charged with returning Yahoo to its former glory, when it was one of the web’s dominating names. Although its email platform, search portal and Flickr photo sharing site are still pulling in good traffic, the company has failed to keep up with the likes of Google and Facebook.
Its share price has hovered around $15 for the last few years, according to the BBC. It rebuffed an offer from Microsoft in 2008 that would have valued the company at $45bn. The move was widely criticised and founder Jerry Yang stood down shortly after. Yahoo’s current market cap stands at just under $20bn.
Rumours of a takeover have persisted since then, even after it eventually struck a deal with Microsoft that saw Yahoo power its sites with Microsoft’s Bing search engine technology and Microsoft integrate aspects of Yahoo’s search software into its own web search platforms.
The company has recently been linked with the sale of some or all of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group and its Japanese affiliate.
"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," Thompson said. "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."
"Clearly, speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness. I cannot wait to get started," he added.
Former Autodesk boss Bartz was brought on board to replace Yang, but failed to achieve the targeted turnaround in Yahoo’s performance. Shortly after her dismissal she fired a departing salvo at the board, calling them "doofuses".
"These people fucked me over," she told Fortune, before describing the manner of her dismissal. She was due to call chairman Roy Bostock at 6pm, and when she did he began reading a statement to her, prepared she says by Yahoo lawyers: "I said, ‘Roy, I think that’s a script. Why don’t you have the balls to tell me yourself? I thought you were classier.’"
She claimed the board was looking to show a decisive nature after the bungled takeover attempt by Microsoft. "The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country," she says, "now they’re trying to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are."