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2011

New Wave Of Exodus At Yahoo–Chairman Roy Bostock, Three Board Members To Depart

February 8, 2012 0

Sunnyvale, California — The exodus of Yahoo’s vanguards continued on Tuesday, as Chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors of the internet pioneer are stepping down as the embattled search engine company ploughs ahead with an internal reorganization, including discussions on dealing with its stakes in China’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.

In a letter to shareholders today, Yahoo’s chairman of the board, Roy Bostock, mentioned that together with fellow board members leaving are HP executive Vyomesh Joshi, former airline executive Gary Wilson, and former radio station owner Arthur Kern, he would not run for re-election this year.

Surprisingly, the conglomerate–once a Web humongous but now distressful over a range of options to revive its diminishing growth–on Tuesday disclosed that it appointed two new directors–Fred Amoroso, former CEO of digital entertainment firm Rovi Corp., and Maynard Webb, chairman and former CEO of cloud tech company LiveOps, who was also once the chief operating officer of eBay.

Kern served on Yahoo’s board for more than 15 years, while Wilson had been a member since 2001, and Joshi since 2005. Yahoo confirmed the changes, which had been rumored in the tech community last month, in a letter to shareholders from Bostock.

“We believe that this reorganized board, with a fresh set of perspectives and diverse set of skills, will enable the company to move forward even more aggressively,” Bostock said in the letter. Their exits are part of a larger effort to “speed up the company’s transformation,” according to a letter written by Bostock and released by the company.

“We have communicated with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders,” Bostock said in a letter to shareholders released on Tuesday.

“We are also in active consultation with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant,” the letter said.

Outgoing Yahoo Board of Directors Chairman Roy Bostock announced plans to step down today. Image Credit: (Duke University)

Yahoo’s board has come under fire from investors impatient with the company’s persistent inability to effect a turnaround, and the company has undergone several other leadership shake-ups over the past month. This recent announcement comes barely weeks after Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang stepped down from the company’s board of directors.

Bostock, who served Yahoo’s board since 2003, was a lightning rod for Yahoo shareholders annoyed about the company’s fall from grace and the string of struggles that defined the company during his tenure. Shareholders blamed Bostock, along with Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, for turning down a rich acquisition offer by Microsoft Corp in 2008 near the height of Yahoo’s valuation.

Moreover, the 71 year-old Bostock, who also serves as vice chairman of the board of Delta Air Lines and who rudely sacked Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz over the phone in September, announced his plans to leave Yahoo shortly after the appointment of former PayPal President Scott Thompson to the CEO Post.

Bostock will remain chairman until the company’s annual meeting, expected in the next few months. Yahoo’s new board will decide on a new chairman at the appropriate time, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Wall Street was remarkably unbaised in its reaction to the news. Shares of the company remained flat in after-hours trading on the news of Bostock’s exit.

AllThingsD first reported the board members’ departure.

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