Yahoo has announced that PayPal President Scott Thompson will take over as its new chief executive on January 9, making him the company’s fourth new CEO in less than five years.
While Yahoo’s chief financial officer Tim Morse has served as interim CEO for the last four months, the company has been truly leaderless since early September, when it fired Carol Bartz (via phone) after a 2 ½ year run. Bartz’s time at Yahoo’s helm was tumultuous from the start—her lack of experience with Internet advertising led many to feel she was unqualified for the position.
Thompson, however, has a background in technology and according to Roy J. Bostock, chairman of Yahoo’s board, during Thompson’s time at PayPal he proved that he could build up a company with solid assets.
While Thompson served as president, Paypal expanded from 50 million to over 104 million users and increased its revenue from $1.8 billion to $4 billion.
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“That, to me, is a track record of building,” said Bostock. “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.”
Thompson faces significant challenges with Yahoo. The Sunnyvale, California-based company has struggled in recent years, particularly in markets that it once led, like search and display advertising.
During a conference call, Thompson said the company’s strengths are its world-class technology, number of users, access to data and the power of its brand and that providing a great experience and engagement for users will be the keys to its future success.
“I am personally convinced that the core business assets are stronger here at Yahoo than people believe at this point,” Thompson said. “We’ll be back to innovation, we’ll be back to disruptive concepts. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that was possible.”