Decker and Miller top list for Yahoo! CEO role
LONDON - As the hunt for a new Yahoo! CEO to replace Jerry Yang gets underway, speculation has focused on a number of figures inside and outside of the company, including Yahoo! number two Susan Decker and former AOL chief Jonathan Miller.
Several prominent internet and media candidates have been tipped, but analysts have singled out Decker, current Yahoo! president and Miller, former head of AOL.
Decker's close relationship with Yang during the blocked Microsoft takeover and failed Google deal could hurt her chances, said analysts, who suggest the fact Yahoo! is searching outside the company signals her stock could be dwindling.
Miller took over Time Warner's AOL in 2002 when the company was on the brink of collapse, and transitioned the firm from a dial-up internet provider into an advertising-led business. Miller's name was proposed by vocal Yahoo! investor Carl Icahn earlier this year as a possible board member but a non-compete clause kept him out of the pictures. This clause ends in February.
Jeffrey Lindsay, analyst at Bernstein, said: "What Yahoo! needs is not another avuncular figure or titular figurehead. Yahoo! needs an active, functioning executive, comfortable with technical operations who can also make hard decisions and restructure the company."
Other names being floated include: former Yahoo! chief operating officer Dan Rosenweig, who currently runs media private equity firm Quadrangle; Meg Whitman, long-time Ebay CEO; Tim Armstrong, Google's North American head of sales; News Corp's COO Peter Chernin; and current Juniper Networks executive Kevin Johnson.
Yousef Squali, an analyst at Jeffries, said: "It needs to be someone who comes from the outside -- you need someone with no allegiances.
"What you need is a dealmaker, not a CEO. A dealmaker will take everyone out of their misery and maybe that is what we need at this point."
Analysts agree that whoever Yahoo! selects is likely to face another possible offer from Microsoft for its search business, although at a much lower rate per share than the $33 (£22) offered in May.
Some have even suggested that Yahoo! abandons the selection process, quickly bringing what investors see as the best possible route of action for Yahoo! -- to sell all or part of its company to Microsoft.
Jerry Yang's resignation from his CEO post yesterday produced a jump in Yahoo! shares, up 10.5% to $11.75 (£7.80).
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