Yahoo boardroom turmoil continues: 4 directors to step down

09/02/2012

Four longtime Yahoo board members, including the chairman, are leaving the company, as the embattled online media giant aims to turn around its fortunes with a new team at the helm. In a letter to shareholders this week, Yahoo! chairman Roy Bostock said he and three other directors are to step down. The other exiting board members are Vyomesh Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson.

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The four directors will not seek re-election at the next Yahoo shareholders' meeting, which has not yet been scheduled but is typically held sometime in the spring.

The departures stemmed from board discussions about "why Yahoo! was not meeting either our own expectations or those of our shareholders," Bostock wrote.

Bostock added that a new team will work alongside CEO Scott Thompson, who was appointed in January, to replace Carol Bartz, will “provide Yahoo! with the expertise and perspectives necessary to drive innovation and growth”.

Yahoo has already named two new board members: Alfred Amoroso, previously of Rovi Corporation, and Maynard Webb, Jr., formerly an executive at eBay and Gateway. A search for "additional" new directors continues.

The announcement prompted speculation that the shake-up was an attempt to appease investors concerned about Yahoo!’s apparent lack of progress selling down its stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo! Japan.

However Bostock insisted talks were moving forward, saying: “The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant.”

New team, new strategy?

Thompson's hiring was one outcome of an analysis that began six months ago, according to Bostock's letter, and was kicked off during a special meeting of Yahoo's independent directors -- meaning that then-CEO Bartz didn't attend.

The group decided to "move aggressively on three fronts": finding a new CEO, reviewing Yahoo's strategy and structure, and reconsidering the company's board composition.

This week's board departures are a result of that scrutiny.

Last month, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang resigned his board post and all other positions at the company.

After the four officially leave their posts, the majority of Yahoo's board will have joined the board in 2012. All nine will have joined since 2010.

Yahoo's board has talked with potential investors over the past few months and reviewed several equity investment proposals, but so far, it is unimpressed, according to Bostock's letter.

"There have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders," he wrote

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