You can’t blame Yahoo’s board for being a little bit gun shy. After all, eight out of 11 directors are new this year — three of them were appointed in the wake of the highly-public resume scandal that ousted CEO Scott Thompson.
That’s seems to be why today’s shareholder meeting in Santa Clara, Calif. ended without an announcement about a new CEO, as interim CEO Ross Levinsohn — a prime candidate for the role — continues to labor with that pesky “interim” title.
But, according to a report in AllThingsD, Yahoo better act quickly if it wants Levinsohn, as he is under consideration for top jobs at other major media companies, including Hulu and Comcast. He’s had a positive impact so far as head of Yahoo, negotiating an end to a patent battle with Facebook and hiring Michael Barrett as executive vice president and chief revenue officer. Barrett previously was at Google helping it to integrate Admeld, and worked closely with Levinsohn at Fox Interactive Media before that.
But Yahoo’s board is skittish about making another mistake in choosing a CEO, and wants to take its time and thoroughly vet candidates. As a long-time Yahoo exec, Levinsohn has both the baggage and the background — a con and a pro, respectively — to bring to the role. He also has more media chops than the company’s past couple of CEOs, which could be a pro. But it could also be a con, if the board sought someone with more corporate or CEO experience.
Whoever takes over will do so at a very tricky time, as Yahoo continues its decline and once-strong products like Mail and Flickr seem to languish for lack of innovative development. Still Yahoo remains among the top internet properties, traffic-wise. In Comscore’s most recent rankings, for May, Yahoo’s sites ranked second to Google in terms of web traffic, with 167 million unique visitors. Its advertising network came in 13th with 177 million unique visitors.
Postscript: See Confirmed: Marissa Mayer Leaving Google For Yahoo CEO Role.