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Former interim CEO Ross Levinsohn is leaving Yahoo

Levinsohn took over after Scott Thompson resume scandal, but was passed over for permanent job

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
July 30, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/28ce

Updated to reflect comment from Yahoo and further specifics regarding a severance package

With new Yahoo CEO Marissa Miller now firmly in charge, some may have been wondering if there was still going to be a place at the company for bypassed interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, though it would have seemed highly unlikely.

What that role he could possibly take, especially after he was publicly passed over for the top position after many speculated that he would be made CEO permanently after being on the job for three months?

The answer: there isn’t a place for him there. Or, if there was one, Levinsohn did not want it.

In a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Yahoo made it official that Levinsohn would be leaving the company, with July 31, 2012 as his official termination date.

Because he was “terminated by the Company without Cause,” it said in a letter from Mayer to Levinsohn in the separation agreement, Levinsohn is therefore eligible for severance package that includes the vesting of stock options, one year’s full base salary, which last year was $700,000, and any bonuses he was eligible to receive.

Levinsohn will receive 67,000 restricted stock units, and 250,000 stock options priced at $15.80 a share.

Levinsohn sent the following message to his employees on Monday:

“I wanted to let you know that my time at Yahoo has come to an end. It has been an incredible journey for me and I could not be prouder of what we accomplished over the past few years helping define Yahoo as a leader in digital media and advertising. Yahoo is an amazing brand and company, and I leave knowing we did all we could to help inform and entertain more than 700 million users each month. Leading this company has been one of the best experiences of my career, but it is time for me to look for the next challenge.”

"Ross has done a terrific job during his time at Yahoo!. We wish him all the best," A Yahoo spokesperson told VatorNews.

Prior to coming to Yahoo, Levinsohn was  President of Fox Interactive Media from 2005 to 2006, and then managing director of investment firm Fuse Capital from 2007 to 2010. He began working at Yahoo in 2010 as Executive Vice President of Americas, before becoming Executive Vice President.

After Scott Thompson’s reign as CEO ended after only five months, due to a resume fudging scandal, it was Levinsohn who took over to right the ship.

After he was able strike a deal with Facebook, which ended a protracted legal battle over patents between the two tech giants that Thompson had started, it was widely assumed that Levinsohn would get to his job on a permanent basis.

The Yahoo board decided to go in a different direction, however, hiring Marissa Mayer.  

No word on where Levinsohn will go from here.

Yahoo's recent CEO history

Mayer is currently Yahoo’s fourth CEO since 2007.

Terry Semel, who became CEO in 2001, was replaced by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang in 2007. Since then, no other EO has lasted more than two years.

Yang was replaced by Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz in 2009, but she only lasted until 2011, when she was fired over the phone.

PayPal President Scott Thompson took over in January 2012. His tenure at Yahoo was marred by failure and scandal, first with the Facebook patent lawsuit, then the announcement of massive layoffs in April.

Thompson was forced to step down in early May.

(Image source: adweek.com)


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