Yahoo has once again gone outside the company to breathe new life into the once-mighty Internet titan: Scott Thompson, most recently the president of eBay’s PayPal division, takes the helm on Monday, January 9th.
The four-month search ends the latest period of uncertainty for Yahoo, which has been struggling to regain its rightful place in the hearts and minds of the digerati — to say nothing of an indifferent Wall Street.
Investors have been sour on Yahoo for a while. The news of Thompson’s hiring was met with boos on NASDAQ, where Yahoo closed Wednesday at $15.78, down 51 cents. With a “fool me twice” attitude, potential will be no substitute for results. And given the spectacular flame out of former CEO Carol Bartz, investor patience must be wearing thin (if, that is, it still exists at all).
Thompson seems to be arriving with a clean slate and marching orders that give him a fairly free hand — “he will work closely with the Board as we continue the strategic review process to identify the best approaches for the Company and its shareholders.” Indeed, Thompson hadn’t even met with the top Yahoo executives, which I would take as a sign that his allegiance is entirely to the board.
That’s a good thing, because Thompson has his work cut out for him. Consider this reaction from Lawrence Haverty, a fund manager with GAMCO investors, which owns Yahoo shares.