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The characteristics, and the short list
Yahoo is in need of a great CEO who can re-brand the beleaguered company. No longer should the words "peanut butter" come to mind when people refer to this Internet pioneer. Rather, the new CEO needs to unify Yahoo's disparate parts and present a consistent message.
Yahoo needs someone like a Louis Gerstner, the man who reshaped and rescued IBM, making it relevant again, at a time many believed it was beyond repair.
I'm sure Heidrick & Struggles, the executive search firm hired to find the new executive, has a job description and profile for this new CEO. But here are just a few other suggestions to add to their list.
- Must be able to deal with vexatious shareholders
- Must be able to write company memos in lower case letters
- Must be able to handle a peanut butter knife
- Must be able to act Hollywood, only in Silicon Valley
- Must be available to fly to Redmond, daily
- Must be able to say "YES" to Steve Ballmer
While the search firm searches, the blogosphere is abuzz about who should be the next CEO of Yahoo.
AllThingsD's Kara Swisher reports that Peter Chernin is the No. 1 choice of those "inside and outside Yahoo." She points out, "Chernin has the right resume: Experienced at running large and complex organizations; savvier than most in media about the Internet; able to make the kind of dramatic decisions needed; and, perhaps best of all, signaling–via the Los Angeles Times–just this past week that he was open to leaving the powerful media and entertainment conglomerate for something new."
Others noted as potential candidates are:
Sue Decker: As President of Yahoo, she's an obvious contender. But as President of Yahoo, she's not very popular, given her long tenure there. She's practically home-grown stock. Some say she's partly to blame for the mismanagement of the business.
Dan Rosensweig: Yahoo's former COO, who is now at media invesment company, Quadrangle.
At Silicon Alley Insider, the following folks have been raised as potential candidates.
Max Levchin: Founder and CEO of Slide. He definitely has shown competence building a popular media company.
Tim Armstrong: Advertising executive at Google.
Ellen Siminoff: An early employee at Yahoo, who founded Efficient Frontier, a search engine marketing company. She's since left that gig. She knows online marketing, and is extremely sharp.
Kevin Ryan: Former CEO of DoubleClick.
Meg Whitman: Former CEO of eBay. It's doubtful she'll take the job, given that she's likely dreaming of a world in politics.
Ross Levinsohn: Former head of Fox Interactive Media. He's currently a partner at Velocity Group. He'd definitely take on something as challenging as turning around Yahoo.
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