Is the Scott Thompson saga about to finish with a whimper, rather than a bang?
AllThingsD is reporting this morning that Thompson is set to step down from his job as Yahoo CEO, for “personal reasons.”
Yahoo’s global media head, Ross Levinsohn, is reported in line to take over at least on an interim basis. The company’s board is meeting this morning to consider the plan.
Levinsohn previously served as president of News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media, and held senior management positions with search pioneer AltaVista, CBS Sportsline and HBO. While at Fox, Levinsohn was involved with the $580 million acquisition of Myspace. In the interview below, conducted at The Paley Center for Media on May 10, 2012, Levinsohn discusses his work at Yahoo. Looking back, he described Yahoo as an “untapped jewel” and an “incredible platform” when he joined the company in November 2010.
“We have a business that most companies on the Internet would die to have,” Levinsohn said in the interview. He will now have direct responsibility to change perceptions about the beleaguered Yahoo. “Unfortunately a small block of writers, bloggers and analysts focus on the negative,” he said, pointing to Yahoo’s social bar as the fastest growing social network, more than 700 million users and $1 billion in profit as evidence of Yahoo’s forward progress.
“Yahoo has its own share of issues, but so does every other company. The real challenge is we have to move this business forward, and we are….I am the luckiest guy in the world to be part of this, in spite of all the headaches,” Levinsohn said.
The pressure on Thompson has been climbing ever since activist shareholder Daniel Loeb, of Third Point, uncovered a fake computer science degree on the Yahoo CEO’s resume.
We’ve contacted Yahoo and Third Point for comment and will update the post when they get back to us.
AllThingsD reports that the five current Yahoo directors, who planned to leave their posts on the occasion of the company’s annual meeting this summer, will resign effective immediately, clearing the way for a slate proposed by Third Point.
As part of the shakeup, Yahoo’s newly-added director Fred Amoroso will also be named chairman of the board, according to the report. CNET will be updating this story as it develops.