Struggling online giant Yahoo! announced Wednesday that it has appointed Scott Thompson as its new CEO. The move comes about four months after the company suddenly and unexpectedly fired previous CEO Carol Bartz, and acting CEO Tim Morse will now resume his role as Chief Financial Officer.
Yahoo! Announces New CEO: Scott 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," Thompson said in a prepared statement. "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."
Thompson, who was previously the PayPal president, has been asked by the Yahoo! board to undergo a "strategic review process" to identify how best for the company to proceed going forward. Though Yahoo! still commands one of the world's most popular websites and has more than 700 million users, the company has had trouble monetizing its success. And its fortunes have fallen in recent years, with its net worth halved since the 2008 Microsoft takeover attempt.
With his predecessor's efforts coming to naught, time is of the essence. And this was a point Thompson made in his prepared remarks. "Clearly, speed is important," he said. "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."
From a strategy standpoint, Yahoo! has recently considering selling off all or parts of the company to outside groups. One of the more compelling options, from a cash perspective, would involve selling Yahoo!'s Asian assets, which include the Alibaba Group. But with a new CEO, new directions are entirely possible.
Yahoo! is indeed an industry icon, and while the company has fallen on hard times, I do wish it luck. Even as nothing more than a hedge against companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, Yahoo! can command an important role in the future of Internet technologies. But perhaps with renewed leadership, it can achieve even more.