Monday May 14, 2012 : YAHOO C.E.O. DEPARTS
Biography row thought to be responsible
The furore around the qualifications of Yahoo's latest chief executive, Scott Thompson , is thought to be behind his departure from the company over the weekend after only five months in office, although Yahoo did not give reasons.
Daniel Loeb, the head of hedge fund and 5.8 percent stakeholder Third Point started the row two weeks ago when he questioned the qualifications of Thompson, and the Yahoo directors who appointed him, including IGT head Patti Hart.
In a press release over the weekend, Yahoo advised it has immediately appointed board member Fred Amoroso as chairman, and that the company's worldwide media head, Ross Levinsohn will serve as interim chief executive officer until a replacement for Thompson has been found.
“The company also announced that its Board has reached an agreement with Third Point LLC to settle its pending proxy contest related to the company's 2012 annual meeting of shareholders,” the statement advised.
Observers have noted that Loeb's objective was to gain three seats on the board at Yahoo, and in this he has been partially successful; Yahoo will appoint him to the board, and in a quid pro quo he will withdraw Third Point's bid for three seats.
The Associated Press news agency reports that Yahoo is fighting Google for both customers and revenue and is losing badly, though the company's first-quarter results showed signs of progress this year. Thompson became CEO in January.
In its first-quarter 10-Q filing with the SEC last Wednesday, Yahoo acknowledged that “uncertainties” about Thompson and questions about the company's “future direction “could hurt business opportunities and make it difficult to attract employees and business partners.
Thompson was Yahoo's third CEO in three years.
Before joining Yahoo, Levinsohn was president of News Corp's Fox digital division. According to Yahoo's official website, Levinsohn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The American University.