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CEO Bingo – Some Thoughts on The Yahoo CEO Search

By - November 19, 2008

Lots of speculation continues around who might be the right CEO for Yahoo, both on my original post here (I am honored by the readers who suggested it but, come on, guys, I am not the right person for the job), as well as across the ‘sphere. Kara has some interesting ideas here, including David Rosenblatt, former CEO of DoubleClick, now at Google (see my interview with him at CM Summit here), former Viacom chief Tom Freston, and Richard Rosenblatt (see his presentation at Web 2 here).

I think all these are fine candidates, and Forbes called me today asking me for more. As I chatted with journalist Elizabeth Corcoran, Bruce Chizensome themes came out. It seems there might be three types of CEO candidates – leaders from “orthogonal” companies – not media or direct Internet, for example, but folks who grok the overall technology and business space. My candidate from here is Bruce Chizen, former CEO of Adobe, who has successfully competed with Microsoft and gets the B2C software/Internet as platform space (at left, and in conversation at Web 2 last year).

Another type of candidate might be folks from major ad platforms. David Rosenblatt falls in that category, but he’s got a very big job at Google, and I’m not sure he’d want to go boil another ocean. But what about Brian McAndrews, who sold aQuantive to Microsoft? (Web 2 video).

A third type of candidate might be a visionary in the space of open platforms, where Jerry – rightfully I believe – has pushed Yahoo in the Vj Jinoshpast year. It’s harder to find easy candidates for this category, because most leaders in the world of “open” are more visionaries than operators. But it led to to wonder about folks who might be inside great companies like Dell, HP or IBM, leading huge divisions. After all, those companies have seen the impact of open – Linux in particular – and closed – Microsoft – and have learned lessons that could really guide a maturing Internet world.

That’s when another name struck me – Vyomesh Joshi, EVP of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (at left and in conversation with me here). Widely seen inside HP as visionary, VJ (as he is known) is also an accomplished operator – he runs a $30 billion business, after all. But does he have knowledge of Yahoo? Yep – he’s on the Board.

Whoever ends up running Yahoo, I think, will not be someone to come in, fix it, and sell it. Why? Because honestly, besides Microsoft, which has declared it’s not interested, who else is a buyer of *anything* right now? And I may be showing some bias here, but I believe Yahoo is a great company that has lost its way, not an asset to be packaged and sold to the highest bidder in a low market. The right person can come in and prove that. I wish whoever it is good fortune.

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5 thoughts on “CEO Bingo – Some Thoughts on The Yahoo CEO Search

  1. Tom says:

    You display the kind of thoughtful, knowing-the-ropes and the pitfalls, analytic judgment that a great CEO at Yahoo would need. Your analogy of boiling an ocean struck me. Yahoo is as broad as a tepid ocean – teaming with gazillions of dedicated customers who prefer their email service to all others. I’d bet one of your choices will be tapped for it. The thing is, I know you could succeed at it.

  2. Sagem says:

    Vyomesh Joshi is a name I thought of also, Yahoo needs an exact direction and timeline plan.

  3. Links (Rick) says:

    Yahoo needs a strategic and and vision……at this point it has neither and David Rosenblatt would be the perfect CEO to fill this void.

  4. Make that another vote for Vyomesh Joshi.

    Maybe not the “name” that immediately comes to mind, but the more you think about it, the more appropriate he is.

    He’s got the temperament to get the ship back on course. He would command the respect of the Yahoo skill players as well as the rank and file. He has the enthusiasm for the business that Yahoo needs to convey to the outside world. The only downside I can think of is that a few of his assertions can seem over-reaching at first blush.

  5. Karl Yang says:

    John, John, John. Don’t you know?

    Bob Pittman is going to be the next head of Yahoo.

    It’s already decided (by me, just now).