Yahoo's latest board change signals its continued push to become a top technology company once more. It is a strategy that began in July, when the Web pioneer poached Marissa Mayer from Google to become its new chief executive.
Since then, she has emphasized ways to modernize aged Yahoo staples like e-mail and the Flickr photo service, to help them better compete against ever-newer competitors.
Bringing Mr. Levchin is meant to help with that push and show a commitment to developing enticing new offerings. He served as PayPal's chief technology officer before forming Slide, a company that eventually helped produce web apps for Facebook. Google bought the company for about $180 million two years ago, though he left the Internet giant when it shuttered Slide last year.
He will serve as the fourth director nominated by Daniel S. Loeb, the activist hedge fund manager who joined Yahoo's board in May after mounting a prominent challenge to the company's directors. Mr. Loeb's other directors, besides himself, are Michael J. Wolf, the media consultant, and Harry Wilson, a turnaround expert who served on the Obama administration's automotive task force.
Since joining the board, the hedge fund manager has helped orchestrate a number of changes at the Web pioneer, including the hiring of Ms. Mayer.
Mr. Loeb was introduced to Mr. Levchin by Mr. Wolf, who had served on Slide's board of advisers. They met during the investor's trips to Silicon Valley, ahead of the proxy fight, when Mr. Loeb was recruiting candidatesfor Yahoo board seats.
One of the directors Mr. Levchin will be replacing is Mr. Smith, who was a main supervisor of Yahoo's turnaround efforts, including its talks with private equity firms about a capital infusion into the Web company.
The other is Mr. Kenny, who became the Weather Channel's chief executive in January and was formerly the president of Akamai Technologies. Mr. Kenny had briefly considered campaigning for Yahoo's top spot last year.