Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Laying Odds on Semel's Successor for the Corner Cube at Yahoo!

*Updated6/20/07: Congratulations to Jerry Yang who was announced as Yahoo!'s next CEO on Monday.*

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. 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?
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Marissa Mayer, Google: 10,000 - 1. Positives: Well-known/respected by tech folks. Question Marks: Too junior; little leadership experience.
  14. Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo! VP: No Chance. No board would ever pick him after leaking the memo.

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Anonymous said...

this list is retarded. calconis?

Anonymous said...

will be Rosensweig and Decker as co-CEO's, just to keep things impossible to manage..

Unknown said...

Anon 1: Yeah, that was not too serious, hence the odds.

Anon 2: You're right. That would be disaster-ville.


Dimitar Vesselinov said...

How about Ross Levinsohn or Guy Kawasaki?

Anonymous said...

what is this based on? who has been in the news duing the past 3 weeks!

pick a few real seasoned managers. they have enough people who get the business.

give it another try.

Unknown said...

I like Ross. Guy's intriguing -- not one I'd thought of for this. I'll add them to the list.

Any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Bob Pittman

Unknown said...

Good one.

Anonymous said...

Blast from the past... Jeff Mallett or Anil Singh. These guys built the company and have the chops to fix it.

Unknown said...

What about Jeff Weiner? He heads up the a BU that brings in half the revenue already, he has vision and is smart enought to surround himself with the right people.

He is young, but the company needs some vitality to run a trim and firm ship. He also has enought of a media background to keep partners happy.

Anonymous said...

Well, to say "speculation is swirling" and link to your own post is a bit much. Maybe you're swirling your own speculation? ;-)

Unknown said...

Anon: You're right. That was poor form. Nevertheless, I believe this is swirling. Thanks, Eric

Anonymous said...

Sue Decker has a degree in Computer Science. So yes, she is technical enough.

Unknown said...

Double major with Economics, but yes, I agree with you. In an earlier post of an open letter to Jerry and David, several Yahoo!s complained to me that she wasn't technical enough, so I put it down as a question that would be in some minds. Thanks.

Free Poker Capital said...

Eric - i also think that would be disaster ...

Anyway, great post we have here. Keep superb job man.