Sunnyvale, California — As most observers expected, former Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, after losing out to Marissa Mayer for the top job, has decided to leave the company, effective Tuesday, Yahoo confirmed the departure on Monday.
It was a somewhat forced resignation; Levinsohn was seen as a strong internal candidate for the permanent role of leading Yahoo, but is no longer sticking around for the Marissa Mayer era at Yahoo, free meals or no.
In fact, Mayer just took the helm a couple of weeks ago, leaving behind her VP position at Google to take the reins at its struggling competitor.
Earlier this year, Levinsohn was nominated as interim Yahoo CEO after Scott Thompson being booted out amid resume discrepancy, is leaving the company. The news, confirmed by Yahoo, was first reported by AllThingsD, which quoted multiple unnamed sources.
“Ross has done a terrific job during his time at Yahoo,” a Yahoo spokesperson said. “We wish him all the best.”
As a matter of fact, Yahoo is paying him handsomely for his time as interim CEO. According to regulatory documents, which indicated Levinsohn would leave with an “equity award” including 67,000 shares of restricted stock units and 250,000 new stock options priced at $15.80, the price Yahoo’s stock closed at on July 26. He will also get severance benefits for termination “without cause.”
The total value of his package was not immediately clear but it was likely to be worth several million dollars, news reports said. Anyways, that is a nice bit of extra pay for not getting the top job. No word on Levinsohn’s next move.
Ross Levinsohn, who served as interim chief executive and was seen as a favorite for the top job at Yahoo! (AFP/Getty Images/File, Michael Buckner)
On the other hand, the onetime Yahoo CEO has loads of experience in online media, an arena that Mayer has not really stepped into yet. In fact, he was handling that aspect of Yahoo’s business so well that just days before Mayer’s new gig was announced, some were expecting Levinsohn to ditch the “interim” part of his title and remain Yahoo’s CEO indefinitely.
According to AllThingsD, which displayed an email from Mayer, said to be confidential, in which she announced Levinsohn’s departure “at the end of July.”
“Ross has been an important and powerful contributor at Yahoo since he joined in 2010,” the email said.
“I am very grateful to Ross for his leadership and work throughout his tenure at Yahoo. His contributions will be missed.”
Amazingly though, he should not need to wait long to land a new job. Levinsohn is a veteran exec with experience both in technology and media companies. He came to Yahoo in October 2010, working first as exec VP of the company’s Americas division. Later, he headed up its Global Media group. Yahoo appointed Levinsohn as interim CEO in May following Thompson’s departure.