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Yahoo Hires PayPal President Scott Thompson as CEO

Four months after firing Carol Bartz, Yahoo has appointed Scott Thompson as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 9, 2012. Thompson, who was previously President of Paypal has also been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors. Thompson inherits what appears to be one of the toughest jobs in the Internet industry – not that of running Yahoo, but of keeping its board and the press happy. Yahoo is viewed as a company on the decline, and from the conference call that Yahoo held, Thompson didn’t appear to say much, except reiterate what Carol Bartz used to say – build a company that is both about technology and media, and focus on increasing user engagement.

While it is too early to tell what Thompson plans to do, and indeed, it will be too early to tell during the companys next earnings call, due in a couple of weeks, he should know that unless there is perceptible change in the stock price and revenues going forward, the revolving door will revolve again. What we don’t know is whether he has been brought in to dress the company up for a sale – Alibaba’s Jack Ma has been fairly vocal about his intent to buy Yahoo and turn it around. Any specific plans should probably be known in a few months, especially after Thompson visits Yahoo offices across the globe, to get a sense of what is going on. India apparently has been at the forefront of experimentation, with products rolled out here before they were rolled out globally. There are plans for language portals in India too, and it’s unlikely there will be an immediate impact on the Indian operations.

With Thompson taking over, Tim Morse returns to his CFO role. The boilerplate profile of Thompson, from Yahoo:

“Scott Thompson has a record of deep industry experience, having most recently served as President of PayPal with overall responsibility for establishing that company as the leading global online payment service. He previously served as PayPal’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Prior to PayPal, Mr. Thompson was Executive Vice President of technology solutions at Inovant, a subsidiary of Visa formed to oversee global technology for the organization. Thompson was also Chief Information Officer of Barclays Global Investors, where he implemented a new strategic technology platform and global infrastructure. In addition, he worked with Coopers and Lybrand, delivering information technology solutions to leading financial services clients.”

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