Ross Levinsohn takes over as Yahoo interim CEO

Steven Loeb · May 14, 2012 · Short URL:

Scott Thompson resigns as CEO, a victory for Third Point hedge fund

Scott Thompson resigned as Chief Executive of Yahoo, the company announced late Sunday. He will be replaced by interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, currently executive vice president and head of global media.

The executive shuffle comes as a result of demands from hedge fund Third Point and its activist CEO Daniel Loeb. Just a week and a half ago, Loeb sent his first letter to the Yahoo board of directors accusing CEO Scott Thompson of lying about his academic record.  

After Yahoo did not immediately let Thompson go, Loeb sent another letter to the board, this time demanding that he be given access to the hiring documents. In response, Yahoo said they would be setting up a special commission to look into the process. It is unknown at this time if Thompson’s resignation is a result of any findings by that commission. 

Thompson has only been CEO of Yahoo for four months. Prior to that role, he was president of PayPal.

At the same time of the resignation, Yahoo's board named Fred Amoroso as Chairman, replacing  Roy Bostock. Also joining the board are Loeb, Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf, all Third Point nominees. Thompson has stepped down from the board.

As for what Levinsohn plans on doing with Yahoo, here's part of his note to employees, obtained by All Things D.

For my part, I want you to know that I am honored to lead this great company as interim Chief Executive Officer, and I accept that responsibility with enthusiasm and confidence for three reasons above all others: As I have said since I joined Yahoo in 2010, I believe in the tremendous strength and value of our brand, and in our relationship with our users and partners; I believe in the substantial organizational, operational and strategic progress we have made in recent months in spite of the internal and external challenges we have faced; and most of all, I believe with all my heart in all of you and your dedication to continuing to make this company great. What we achieve in this company is substantial on each and every day, on a scale rarely matched across the globe. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this team.

This may seem like a great deal of news to digest, but as you are all keenly aware, Yahoo! is a dynamic, global company in a dynamic, global industry, so change — sometimes unexpected and sometimes at lightning speed — is something we will continue to live with and something we should embrace. However, today’s announcements really boil down to this: following these changes, a transformation and renewal at the Board level that began in August of last year is now complete.

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