Four months after unceremoniously firing Carol Bartz, the Yahoo board has finally picked a new CEO. Scott Thompson, who is the president of PayPal – a division of eBay, will be leading the struggling internet giant from next Monday. He will also be appointed to Yahoo’s Board of Directors.
“Scott brings to Yahoo! a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo!,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board. Under Thompson, PayPal grew from 50 million to more than 104 million active users in 190 countries worldwide, increasing the number of merchant partners to more than 8 million globally, and growing revenues from $1.8 billion to $4+ billion in 2011. Before his stint at PayPal, Thompson also worked as chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors.
Thompson’s name was suggested yesterday by Kara Swisher, but is otherwise somewhat of a surprise. He is the black horse that almost all industry analysts missed, and he certainly has his task cut out. Thanks to the lack of vision and clarity of Yahoo’s previous leaders, the internet giant is now a mere shadow of its former self. Yahoo arrogantly resisted Microsoft’s takeover attempt, and then later failed to find a buyer as its stock price continued to plummet. Yahoo failed to encourage and cultivate innovation, and instead drove away many of its talented engineers and leaders. In his statement, Thompson said, “Speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness”. Let’s hope that he succeeds.