Yahoo CFO is Now Also Interim CEO

Yahoo chief financial officer Tim Morse has been appointed on an interim basis to replace CEO Carol Bartz who was fired, over the phone, by Yahoo's chairman.


Morse will also continue in his CFO role. Morse is responsible for the investor relations and mergers and acquisitions groups, and is charged with helping develop the company's business strategy.


Morse previously was CFO of Altera Corp., a semiconductor company specialising in programmable logic devices for communications, industrial, and consumer applications.


He previously served as the CFO and general manager of business development for General Electric Plastics. A 15-year GE veteran, the Boston College management-school graduate also held a variety of positions at GE Appliances and GE Capital in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as with GE Plastics.


Morse holds a bachelor's degree in finance and operations and strategic management from the Boston College.


Bartz, who took over as CEO in January 2009, frustrated investors and failed to keep Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. from grabbing Yahoo's Internet users and advertising revenue.


The CFO being chosen to lead Yahoo instead of, say, the COO or the CMO, highlights the increasing importance finance plays.


The management change and strategy overhaul show the board is listening to shareholders, Ken Sena, an analyst at New York-based Evercore Partners, told Bloomberg News.


"It shows some accountability for the dissatisfaction that investors have felt over the last few years," Sena said. "The turnaround efforts have not worked and trends seem to be getting worse. I see this as a positive step."


Yahoo owns around 40% of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and nearly 35% of Yahoo Japan. Bartz and Alibaba founder Jack Ma are said to have had a strained relationship. Alibaba had offered to buy back Yahoo's stake, but no deal was reached.


With Bartz out and CFO Morse at the helm, albeit temporarily, the sale of Yahoo's Asian assets is looking more likely. As CFO and CEO, Morse will be under pressure to get the highest price out of any sale -- at a time when financially stronger Alibaba, especially, appears to have the whip hand. Morse will need all his finance and executive skills to craft a deal Yahoo's board and investors will like.



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