Power Marketplace’s public service journalism 💙 Give Now

Yahoo’s new CEO could shake up company

Steve Chiotakis Jan 4, 2012

Steve Chiotakis: Yahoo has a new CEO: Scott Thompson, current head of eBay’s online payment system, PayPal. Yahoo’s struggled, of course, to compete with Facebook, and Google and other rivals in recent years. It’s even considered selling all, or parts, of itself.

Rob Enderle is a technology analyst. He’s with us now to talk about what’s going on at Yahoo. Hey Rob.

Rob Enderle: Good morning.

Chiotakis: So let’s think about this — how might a new CEO change the direction Yahoo has been heading in?

Enderle: Yahoo’s kind of a publishing house nowadays. They’ve got a number of publishing-focused properties — that’s why the rumor of them merging with AOL was hot and heavy for most of last year; very similar kinds of firms. Their strongest property is probably their financial property, where they look out over companies and report the financial news surrounding those firms. So a new CEO — particularly one with banking experience, and through PayPal — would probably take the company in a very different direction.

Chiotakis: What do we know about Thompson as a CEO?

Enderle: We know that he’s good at taking a company that’s already in good shape and making it better. PayPal was improved during his tenure. His background at Visa fit very well with PayPal, which is also a banking kind of facility, except more Internet-related. So a strong match in terms of his job at PayPal, because Visa had a very, very similar kind of structure.

And he showcased he could take a company that was in great shape and not screw it up — actually make it better — so, a good skill set for a company that’s in a steady state but needs to be improved. That, unfortunately, is not what Yahoo is.

Chiotakis: Yeah, I was going to say — Yahoo is a bit, or has been anyway, a bit directionless, right?

Enderle: Well, Yahoo’s kind of a train wreck. So you would think that they would first need somebody that had online publishing experience, because that’s the business that Yahoo’s in at the moment, and then secondarily, somebody that had experience with doing a major successful turnaround. And given that they seem to be packaging the company for sale — the firm’s been on the block for a while and desperately needed to be packaged.

So he’s closer, because he’s been working at an Internet property. But banking and publishing are very different; and taking a company that was on a steady state and improving it and turning around the company, or packaging it are very different skill sets.

Chiotakis: Rob Enderle from the Enderle Group. Rob, thanks.

Enderle: Pleasure.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.