Yahoo Picks Scott Thompson for CEO Post

6:09 AM PST 01/04/2012 by Georg Szalai

UPDATED: The executive, who most recently served as president of eBay's PayPal business, takes over at the online company as it continues a strategic review process.

NEW YORK - Online giant Yahoo said early Wednesday that it has picked technology executive Scott Thompson as its new CEO.

His appointment is effective Jan. 9. Interim CEO Tim Morse will resume his role as CFO.

Thompson, who fills the position left open when Carol Bartz was fired from the CEO post last year, most recently served as president of PayPal, a division of eBay. Under his leadership, PayPal expanded its user base from 50 million to more than 104 million active users in 190 countries, Yahoo said. It also grew revenue from $1.8 billion to $4 billion-plus.

His prior career has also mostly seen him in other technology-driven positions, a background that could be complementary to Yahoo top executives with content expertise.

"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," explained Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock the choice. "His deep understanding of online businesses combined with his team building and operational capabilities will restore the energy, focus and momentum necessary to grow the core business and deliver increased value for our shareholders. The search committee and the entire board concluded that he is the right leader to return the core business to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation."

Bostock added that the new CEO's primary focus will be on the core business. "He will work closely with the board as we continue the strategic review process to identify the best approaches for the company and its shareholders," he added. "As part of this process, Yahoo is considering a wide range of opportunities for the company's business, as well as specific investments or dispositions of assets."

Said Thompson: "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."

Outlining his immediate focus areas, he 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. With the ultimate goal of delivering the value our shareholders expect, my immediate focus will be on getting to know the entire team and hearing more from all Yahoos, working closely with the engineers and product teams, and diving deeply into our products and services to learn more about what our more than 700 million users find most engaging and useful. I will also be working directly with our region leaders and sales teams globally to get a clearer understanding of the needs of our advertisers and publishers."

Prior to PayPal, Thompson was executive vp of technology solutions at Inovant, a unit of Visa that oversees global technology issues. He was also chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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