Who Will Replace Carol Bartz as CEO of Yahoo?

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Sep 7, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

In case you haven’t heard, Yahoo! fired its CEO, Carol Bartz on Tuesday. Bartz, who joined Yahoo in January 2009 to help turn the company around after it turned down Microsoft’s $44.6 billion takeover offer, sent the following notice to all Yahoo! employees after being informed she was being let go:

To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


Sent from my iPad

Tim Morse, Yahoo’s CFO, was named interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement. In a press release from Yahoo!,

The [Yahoo!] Board has also named key senior Yahoo! executives to a newly formed Executive Leadership Council tasked with supporting Morse in managing the Company’s day-to-day operations until a permanent chief executive is appointed, as well as supporting a comprehensive strategic review that the Board has initiated to position the Company for future growth.

…the Executive Leadership Council will consist of Michael Callahan, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary; Blake Irving, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer; Ross Levinsohn, Executive Vice President, Americas; Rich Riley, Senior Vice President & MD, EMEA Region; and Rose Tsou, Senior Vice President, APAC Region…

…The Board is commencing a search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer and expects to engage the services of a nationally recognized executive search firm to help it identify candidates for the position as expeditiously as possible.

It is believed that Heidrick & Struggles is the executive search firm hinted at as they have been engaged by Yahoo! in the past to replace Hilary Schneider, former Head of Yahoo!’s North American Region, as well as been involved in the search that ultimately brought Bartz to Yahoo! from AutoDesk. As of the writing of this article, no response has been received from Heidrick & Struggles or Yahoo! either confirming or denying this.

Regardless of who is handling the search — sign me up for that placement fee.

So now the big question is: who will replace Bartz?

Here are some individuals that some of you have said you’d like to see leading Yahoo! into the future, including a couple of my own suggestions:

  • Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo!’s current Executive Vice President
  • Ben Elowitz, Wetpaint’s CEO (though as a co-founder he might be a tough sell…)
  • Doug Leeds,’s CEO (the guy knows the search business…)
  • Dan Finnigan, Jobvite’s CEO (he used to run HotJobs when it was still a Yahoo! property…)
  • Marc Benioff,’s CEO
  • Richard Parsons, Citigroup’s Chairman and former CEO of Time Warner Inc.
  • Mike Jones, MySpace’s former CEO (he just left MySpace at the end of June — so he may still be shopping!)
  • Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO (he has a history with Yahoo! too…)
  • Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman (just kidding… but seriously, how interesting would that be…)

So there you have it, Yahoo! — a short-list of potential candidates for you to explore. Put your awesome sourcing team to the task to start reaching out to them — and I know they’re awesome sourcers because I know many of them personally.

(Let it be noted that this is simply speculation; none of the above-mentioned individuals have to my knowledge thrown their hat into the ring.)

What do you think? Whom would you like to see at the helm of Yahoo! now?

UPDATE: Word on the street now is that “Yahoo is open to selling itself to the right bidder.” While this is only one of several options the company is entertaining at this point, check down the page for some sourcing business intel:

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.