Decker Faces Big Challenges with New Role

Susan Decker joined Yahoo! six years ago as chief financial officer just as the tech bubble was about to burst. As she assumes a new role the company, Yahoo! faces a host of new challenges as it struggles to revive its revenue growth and compete against Google .

Yahoo!’s shakeup puts Decker, 44, one of the most high-profile women in Silicon Valley, in charge of its Advertiser and Publisher Group, which will be the company’s main engine of revenue growth (Play-By-Play: Yahoo! Shuffles Management: Good for Company?). This role, which gives Decker an operational role, marks her as the heir apparent to Chief Executive Terry Semel, 64 years old.

Decker, who has been known to show up a company-run meetings riding a Harley complete with leather chaps, came to Yahoo! from Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she was director of global research. Prior holding that position, Decker had been a publishing and advertising equity securities analyst for 12 years. As a media analyst she was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as a top-rated analyst for 10 consecutive years.

"The appointment of Sue Decker to head the Advertiser & Publisher group is interesting, given her background in finance and busniess strategy," Decker said. "As a widely anticipated successor to CEO Terry Semel, she will, of course, have to execute on her new mandate of extracting maximum value from the Yahoo! network."

Notably, Yahoo! Search Marketing, the group that oversees Project Panama will be reporting to Decker's Advertiser & Publisher group. This is being widely seen as an indication of how important Panama is to Yahoo's future strategy.

Panama, a strategy to alter the placement of ads on its Web sites to maximize revenue, will be uveiled in the first quarter.

Decker also serves as a director of Intel , Costco Wholesale, and The Standford Institute for Economic Policy Research. She previously was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory council, and the board of Pixar Animation Studios, until its sale to Walt Disney .

Decker holds a B.S. from Tufts University and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.