According to a report in the Wall Street Journal Yahoo’s board is considering offering the CEO job to Arun Sarin, the newly retired CEO of EU mobile carrier Vodafone. It’s merely speculation at this point but Sarin is attractive for several reasons:
Mr. Sarin, 54 years old, has largely stayed out of speculation over whom Yahoo might tap for the job, which has included a wide range of executives from other Internet giants and technology companies. But the Yahoo board had been seeking a seasoned technology executive with experience running a public company from the start, and Mr. Sarin, who meets those credentials, continues to remain in contention, according to people familiar with the matter.\
More names will undoubtedly surface in reports like this before a CEO is found. The difficult challenge for Yahoo’s board is to find an executive who can straddle the worlds of technology and advertising/consumer services.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is still seeking to buy Yahoo’s search business (“quickly”) but says that there are no active talks going on. The hiring of former Yahoo technology exec Qi Lu to run the online services group at Microsoft looks in retrospect like it was done partly contemplating a Yahoo search acquisition.
If were the incoming CEO of Yahoo, I wouldn’t want that deal done before I could weigh in on it. Despite the promise of revenue guarantees and considerable short term money it doesn’t make lots of strategic sense of Yahoo to separate its search and display ad businesses (assuming a recovery at some point). Speaking of which, Yahoo continues to promote APT its impressive new display ad platform that contemplates, at some point, the tighter integration of search and display.