Sunday, 13 May 2012

Confirmed: Yahoo's CEO Scott Thompson Has Resigned

Tech blog All Things D reports that embattled CEO Scott Thompson is to follow board member Patti Hart out of the revolving door at Yahoo. Update: Yahoo has officially confirmed this.

The difference between their exits is that Hart will not be seeking reelection to the board while Thompson has resigned. This comes in the wake of damning revelations by the ferocious Daniel Loeb of Third Point, who has been pushing for Yahoo to take members of his proposed slate onto the board. Executive Vice President and Head of Global Media  Ross Levinsohn is the interim CEO pending elections later on this year. Yahoo has also announced the cessation of hostilities with Third Point.

[Roy] Bostock, along with Patti Hart, VJ Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson, all of whom previously disclosed their intentions not to stand for re-election, as well as Mr. Thompson, have decided to step down from the Board immediately. - Yahoo Press Release

Loeb's stunning success

Daniel Loeb's persistence appears to be paying off. He's been pushing for the role of CEO for himself and now he's on the board with two members of his proposed slate.

As a part of the settlement agreement, Third Point, which owns an aggregate of 70,545,400 shares, or 5.8% of Yahoo! common stock, has agreed to withdraw its previous Board nominations for consideration at the annual meeting and vote its shares in support of Yahoo!'s nominees. Yahoo!'s slate of director nominees for election or re-election at the 2012 annual meeting of stockholders will now include Fred Amoroso, John Hayes, Peter Liguori, Thomas McInerney, Maynard Webb, Sue James, David Kenny, Brad Smith, Daniel S. Loeb, Harry J. Wilson and Michael J. Wolf.

Loeb Nominee Jeff Zucker has stepped aside. In a statement on the Yahoo press release he said, "I have been supportive of Third Point's efforts since Daniel asked me to join the slate... When I became aware of Yahoo!'s offer of three board seats to Third Point, I approached Daniel and let him know that I would be happy to step aside to quickly facilitate a settlement." - Yahoo Press Release

Meanwhile, patent warfare enthusiast and recently added director Fred Amoroso has been named Chairman of the Board.

This is catastrophic for Scott Thompson, who tried to push the blame for his "inadvertent error" onto the head-hunters Heidrick & Struggles, which has denied a claim by Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson that the executive-search firm is at fault for a bio with incorrect information about Thompson's alleged college degree. It seems that the error was made by none other than Thompson himself.

Kara Swisher's sources

Towards the end of her article, Kara Swisher revealed:

Internal message boards at Yahoo lit up all last week, with staffers largely rejecting his explanations. In addition, a number of top execs and engineers approached the board calling for Thompson’s firing.

While that’s not precisely what happened here, it’s close enough to describe Thompson’s departure as inevitable. Sources said, though, that he will say the leaving is due to an illness Thompson recently discovered he had.

Kara Swisher was right on the money and broke the news before Yahoo posted the press release.

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