Microsoft Board Names?
BoomTown wrote a few weeks ago that Microsoft (MSFT) was fishing in Silicon Valley and also for “three to four big-name CEOs” for directors to nominate for its own Yahoo (YHOO) board slate, in the event the software giant took off the gloves and tried to oust Yahoo’s current board and replace it with its own.
For the life of me, I could not think of anyone at all in the Web sector who would turn on Yahoo’s CEO and Founder Jerry Yang like that, except perhaps Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who owes Microsoft $240 million worth of loyalty. Helping Microsoft in its hostile bid to acquire Yahoo would make them even.
Yesterday, TechCrunch threw out several very interesting prospects in a post, none too flashy, except perhaps for former Viacom (VIA) President Tom Freston. The others named are former Grey Advertising CEO Edward H. Meyer; former Nextel Partners CEO John Chapple and former eHarmony CEO Jaynie Studenmund.
That’s certainly a lot of formers!
Ironically, the well-respected Freston was often floated as a possible CEO candidate of Yahoo, if former CEO Terry Semel ever stepped down, especially after he was ousted by Viacom’s wacky owner Sumner Redstone, who was upset that Freston let News Corp.’s (NWS) Rupert Murdoch snap up MySpace. Freston has recently become active in the online video space, as an investor in sites like Veoh.
We’ll see if it comes to this for Microsoft and Yahoo, who were reportedly in informal talks, as a proxy fight is probably the last choice for both sides.