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, some 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 past 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.