And so Yahoo has announced that that it's tossed out Scott Thompson as chief executive officer in an effort to clean up a mess created by a misleading resume that destroyed his credibility when he tried turning around the long-troubled search engine. Ross Levinsohn, a 48-year-old executive who oversees Yahoo's media and advertising services, is taking over as interim chief executive.
The Wall Street Journal reports that prior to stepping down, he told the board he had cancer, although he has refused to go public on it, raising questions about whether it's just more of a cover up and attempt to save face, by both the board and Thompson. Yahoo had lured Thompson away from eBay's PayPal in January to end the financial crisis that has depressed the company's stock for years. Yahoo is one of the Internet's most-visited websites but it has suffered in the face of competition from companies like Google and Facebook.
So how does Levisohn fix the company? Eric Jackson at Forbes says he has to do several things urgently. First, he needs to call Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma. Yahoo recently disclosed that it has been holding talks about selling a portion of its investment in Alibaba back to the company. That would give Yahoo more cash to help remake its core business. He also needs to make contact with Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, given Microsoft's role driving Yahoo's search engine. He then has to call Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with which Yahoo has been engaging in a rousing round of patent litigation. A settlement with Facebook would be a huge win for Levinsohn. It doesn't even have to involve cash.
But he better act quickly, he doesn't have much time. Yahoo is in serious trouble.