After the pre-turkey "Peanut Butter" memo, speculation is swirling on who's in the running for Terry Semel's corner cube in Sunnyvale.
Here are Breakout Performance's odds on the front-runners:
- Susan Decker: 3 - 2. Positives: Insider; well-respected by most Yahoo!s, well-liked by street. Question Marks: Technical enough?, too 'analysis paralysis'?, technical vision for company.
- Dan Rosensweig: 4 - 1. Positives: Insider; technical enough background; COO tenure on the surface makes him first in line. Question Marks: Arrongant?, will the Yahoo!s trust/follow him?, too close to Semel?
- Steve Berkowitz, SVP at Microsoft: 8 - 1. Positives: Knows search from Ask, MSN experience, relevant industry leadership experience with views of big and small companies, learned from Diller, Gates, Ballmer. Question Marks: Vision for company?, What are the big accomplishments he can point to on his resume.
- Ross Levinsohn, Ex-President of Fox Interactive: 9 - 1. Positives: Great Internet track record: Fox, Altavista, Sportsline; Ideal time in his career trajectory to take that next step; He's gone from Hollywood, FL, to Hollywood, CA, and now he's ready for the Hollywood of Northern California; Available. Question Marks: He's a deal-maker, but can he integrate?, No turnaround experience with a company the size of Yahoo!, Another guy from Hollywood? Would the Yahoo!s get on board? Would this be as attractive to him as starting a hedge fund? Raising a fund while at Fox -- can the board trust him?
- Shona Brown, EVP BD, Google. 10 - 1. Positives: Rhodes Scholar, PhD, McKinseyite, Best-Selling Business Author before coming to Google -- i.e., bright!; Been studying/working in this industry for 12 years. Question Marks: Too junior for CEO slot; Why leave when Google's on a roll?
- Joanne K. Bradford, new head of MSN: 15 - 1. Positives: Got online Ad religion before anyone else at MSFT, helped turn culture around at MSN, big company experience and ad experience, lives in Bay Area. Question Marks: Seasoned enough for top slot?, could use more time leading major team at MSN.
- Bob Pittman, ex-head of AOL: 35 - 1. Positives: Disciplined; holds others accountable; large media company experience; Internet experience; 53 years old -- still time left on the clock. Question Marks: Does he want to get back in to the spotlight?, His departure from AOL was tied to his lining up with the aggressive AOL targets - credibility with Wall Street? Does the Yahoo! board want this baggage, especially from a competitor?
- Jonathan Miller, ex-head of AOL: 45 - 1. Positives: Relevant CEO-type experience at Yahoo! competitor; can point to some content innovations and general turnaround of that group; fiercely loved by some ex-employees. Question Marks: Vision?; too slow; could he gain loyalty of Yahoo!s?
- Jerry Yang, Chief Yahoo!: 50 - 1. Positives: 1 of the co-founders; well-respected; knows the culture; technical vision. Question Marks: Too junior? (37); Does he want it?; What leadership experience does he have to take on this role?
- Jeff Mallett or Anil Singh, ex-Yahoo!s: 250 - 1. Positives: There from the start; Who doesn't love a "prodigal son"/redemption story?; Yahoo!s would rally round the old guard; Think John Mack at Morgan Stanley. Question Marks: The Board and Jerry Yang would be reluctant to go back on an old decision (although it's not inconceivable, especially if there was board turnover as well); Would the new Yahoo!s rally as much as the old? -- old guard/new guard culture conflicts; Yahoo! is much bigger today than it was and -- as much as I love a "feel good" story -- what have these guys done since leaving to keep their management skills sharp?
- Guy Kawasaki, The House of Kawasaki: 275 - 1. [Squeaked in ahead of Calacanis.] Positives: Visionary to the extreme; Who doesn't love this guy?; He's local. Question Marks: Not an operator (but a great blogger); Why would he want the stress - he's got a pretty good gig as it is.
- Jason Calacanis, ex-AOL: 285 - 1. Positives: Well-known among the Valleywag set; Small & large company experience at Weblogs and AOL. Question Marks: Too young; not ready for prime-time CEO.
- Marissa Mayer, Google: 10,000 - 1. Positives: Well-known/respected by tech folks. Question Marks: Too junior; little leadership experience.
- Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo! VP: No Chance. No board would ever pick him after leaking the memo.