Yahoo!'s (YHOO) Interim CEO Has Beautiful Blue Eyes, No Computer Science Degree, Ambition

May 14, 2012 8:43 AM EDT
Say hello to Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) next huge, embarrassing failure.

Following the departure of Scott Thompson as the CEO of Yahoo!, investors might be bracing themselves for more downside upon the appointment of its interim CEO. According to a release from the company, EVP and Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn will assume the role.

Aside from his engaging baby-blue eyes that seem to look right into your soul, Levinsohn boasts a resume that teeters on "hmm..." He is leader of Yahoo!'s global media segment, which makes him "responsible for all aspects of the company's digital media business, including the vision, strategy, product, partnerships, engineering, and content creation for Yahoo!’s marquee properties and content experiences globally," according to his official Yahoo! bio. Considering that Yahoo! describes itself as "a premier digital media company," we're not sure if Levinsohn's already been running the show, secretly, like from behind a curtain ala "The Wizard of Oz."

Three signs Levinsohn will not be any better than simply leaving the CEO position open for the time being:
  • Hired by Carol Bartz, also incompetent and out as CEO last year;

  • Worked at News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) and led the charge to acquire MySpace -- yes, that MySpace -- for $580 million. Not bad, considering News Corp sold MySpace last year for $35 million.

  • He runs digital media, a segment of Yahoo! that's done so well at drawing interest it had to divest search operations to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) for lack of income generation from ad revs.
That's not to say Levinsohn is incompetent or anything; he's clearly worked at some major companies and done some good things. In addition to News Corp., Levinsohn was at AltaVista and CBS Sportsline (NYSE: CBS) for a few ticks.

Though the appointment isn't permanent, Levinsohn will surely be vying for a more permanent role. This will be fun as Yahoo! continues to negotiate the divestiture of certain Alibaba assets.

Bonus! Levinsohn's Yahoo! bio also says he "holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The American University." No word on whether that is true, though Third Point's Dan Loeb will surely issue a modest press release highlighting the mistake and meekly asking Yahoo! to correct the error, as he has a tendency to do.

Someone should check to see about whether Levinsohn does have a Computer Science degree and lied about that on his resume. That would be an ironic twist.

Shares of Yahoo! are indicated higher Monday as investors look for any non-negative signs to buy Yahoo! This is one of them. Of note, Yahoo! shares are down about 9.5 percent from a close at $16.78 during the end of 2009.

What about Tim Morse? Yahoo! moved well over 23 percent better from his appointment of interim CEO in September 2011 through the selection of Scott Thompson.

Finally, Yahoo! made a 1 percent increase in revenue growth last quarter, one of the few periods its done so since Levinsohn joined in late 2010.

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Daniel Loeb, Third Point LLC, Carol Bartz

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