Chair and directors leave in Yahoo overhaul

Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors will step down as the struggling company ploughs ahead with an internal overhaul, including discussions on dealing with its stakes in China’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.

The corporation said it appointed former Rovi CEO and International Business Machines veteran Alfred Amoroso and ex-eBay chief operating officer Maynard Webb as independent directors.

Yahoo’s board has come under fire from investors impatient with the company’s persistent inability to effect a turnaround and frustrated with the apparent indecisiveness of stakeholders over how to handle investments in Alibaba and other prized Asian assets.

“We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders,” Bostock said in a letter to shareholders.

“We are also in active discussions with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant.”

Bostock, who joined Yahoo’s board in 2003, was a lightning rod for shareholders upset about the firm’s fall from grace and the string of struggles that defined the company during his tenure. Shareholders blamed Bostock, along with Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, for turning down an offer from Microsoft in 2008 near the height of Yahoo’s valuation.

Yang resigned from Yahoo last month. Bostock, 71, who also serves as vice chairman of Delta Air Lines and who fired Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz over the phone in September, announced his plans to leave Yahoo shortly after the appointment of former PayPal president Scott Thompson to the role of CEO.

Bostock will remain chairman until the company’s annual meeting, expected in the next few months. Yahoo’s new board will decide on a new chairman at the appropriate time, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Thompson joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company ploughs ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up.

Many investors hope Yahoo will sell or spin off its Asian assets, with some speculating that Thompson may focus on developing Yahoo’s core online media business.

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