Yahoo Names PayPal’s Scott Thompson as New CEO

The search is over. Yahoo just named Scott Thompson as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 9, 2012.

Yahoo named PayPal President Scott Thompson as its chief executive on Wednesday, hoping the well-regarded Internet technology and e-commerce expert will replicate his success at eBay Inc and turn around the struggling company. Photo: ebayink/Flickr

Yahoo! Inc., the premier digital media company, today announced the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 9, 2012, at which time Tim Morse will resume his role as Chief Financial Officer.

Thompson has also been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective January 9, 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Thompson, credited with driving growth at eBay’s online payments division PayPal, joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up.

 It’s been four long months for Yahoo after ousting Carol Bartz in September. With this move, interim CEO Tim Morse, will return to his role as Yahoo’s CFO.

“It’s a positive outcome, but not as positive as a sale of the company,” said Lawrence Haverty, a fund manager with GAMCO investors, which owns Yahoo shares.

“The risk element is that his background was in payments. And this is not a payment company; it’s a marketing, technology company,” he said, according to Reuters.

“Scott brings to Yahoo! a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo!,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board said in a statement today.

“His deep understanding of online businesses combined with his team building and operational capabilities will restore the energy, focus, and momentum necessary to grow the core business and deliver increased value for our shareholders. The search committee and the entire Board concluded that he is the right leader to return the core business to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation.”

“Yahoo! is an industry icon and I am very excited about the prospect of working with one of the great teams in the online world to deliver Yahoo!’s next era of success,” Mr. Thompson said.

He continued: “Yahoo! has a rich history and a solid foundation to build on, and its continued user engagement is one of the many reasons for my enthusiasm.”

Thompson ran eBay’s PayPal since early 2008, and was previously its chief technology officer. Under his leadership, Yahoo said PayPal increased its user base from 50 million to more than 104 million active users. PayPal processed $29 billion in payments in the third quarter of 2011.

Thompson was known as a leader who was not afraid to make bold strategic bets. He came up with the idea of taking PayPal beyond its online stronghold and into the physical world by allowing PayPal payments in retail stores — an opportunity analysts believe could prove much bigger than its existing business.

“Scott’s primary focus will be on the core business, and as CEO and director, he will work closely with the Board as we continue the strategic review process to identify the best approaches for the Company and its shareholders. As part of this process, Yahoo! is considering a wide range of opportunities for the Company’s business, as well as specific investments or dispositions of assets,” added Bostock.

“We are all grateful to Tim Morse for leading the company with a steady hand during the last several months. His deep understanding of the Company and his positive approach kept the company on course and we will continue to benefit from his exceptional capabilities as he returns to his Chief Financial Officer role,” Bostock concluded.

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