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Yahoo Names PayPal Exec Scott Thompson as CEO

AP
Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012 | 9:03 AM ET

Yahoo confirmed it is tapping Scott Thompson, president of eBay's PayPal division, as its new CEO.

The exterior of Yahoo! corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California.
Getty Images
The exterior of Yahoo! corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California.

The struggling Internet company has been without a permanent CEO since early September, when it fired Carol Bartz after losing patience with her attempts to turn around the company during her 2 1/2 years on the job. Tim Morse, Yahoo's chief financial officer, has been interim CEO since Bartz's ouster.

According to The Wall Street Journal's All Things D technology blog, which first reported the news, Thompson's selection is somewhat of a surprise, as he had not been named in previous reports about Bartz's potential successor.

Thompson has served as president of PayPal, eBay's online payment service, since January 2008, according to his bio on eBay's web site.

He previously served as PayPal's senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Since Bartz's departure there has been considerable speculation about Yahoo's future. In November, Microsoft signed a nondisclosure agreement so that it could gain a seat at the negotiating table if Yahoo decides to sell part or all of its business. Microsoft unsuccessfully tried to buy Yahoo in 2008 for as much as $47.5 billion before walking away in frustration. Yahoo's stock is now worth less than half of Microsoft's last offer of $33 per share.

Two weeks ago, reports said that Yahoo was inching closer to selling most of its holdings in China and Japan in a proposed deal valued at about $17 billion.

It is believed that Yahoo has been looking to make some sort of move to satisfy frustrated shareholders, as its U.S. business has lost its luster as the company's website loses traffic and advertising revenue to Internet search leader Google and Facebook's social network.

While Yahoo's board has considered selling its Asian holdings, it has also reportedly pondered selling a 20 percent stake to buyout firms or even auctioning off the entire company.

It recently appeared that Yahoo's nine-member board was leaning toward selling a large stake to a group led by Silver Lake Partners for $16.60 per share or TPG Capital for $17.60 per share. But that idea reportedly didn't go over well with some of Yahoo's major shareholders, including hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who has been threatening to overthrow the company's board.

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