Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Carl Icahn's Yahoo Board Choices: Meyer and Biondi?

Unless there is an 11th-hour change of heart from Time Warner, former AOL head Jon Miller will still not be Carl Icahn’s choice for the two other seats he will select–which also requires Yahoo’s consent–to the board of the Internet company, set to be announced by Friday.

Instead, several sources with knowledge of the situation think Icahn is more likely to choose Edward Meyer and Frank Biondi (pictured here, left to right), both of whom were on the alternative board slate when the activist investor was waging his now-defunct proxy fight against Yahoo (YHOO).

Another possibility is someone BoomTown had previously picked–former Nextel exec John Chapple (pictured here)–as a personal favorite, noting in late July:

Thus, overall, from good-fit perspective, I like another former exec, John Chapple of Nextel best of all because mobile will be increasingly important to Yahoo in Web 3.0 (frankly, it better be, as Web 2.0 has not been too kind to Yahoo).

Via Sprint (S), Chapple knows from big mergers and he knows how to makes deals. He has been the operator of a digital company, unlike many of the others. And he is also an entrepreneur, which is a plus.

Longtime media exec Frank Biondi is a longtime Icahn crony, and Meyer definitely has the advertising chops Yahoo needs, as former Grey Global Group head.

Icahn has already been seated as a board member of Yahoo.

Presumably, Icahn will now begin to try to figure out ways to goose Yahoo’s lackluster stock from the inside, in order to recover the hundreds of millions of dollars in paper losses he has endured since he started his still fruitless quest to change Yahoo’s management and/or get it to sell to Microsoft (MSFT).

One possible scheme was to eventually install Miller as Yahoo CEO.

In any case, both Icahn and Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang strongly supported Miller for the board.

But Miller was unexpectedly nixed because of a noncompete agreement still in place that he had signed with Time Warner after he was tossed from AOL in late 2006.

After tacitly agreeing to waive the noncompete, Time Warner’s CEO Jeff Bewkes told Miller he could not be considered for the slot.

Thus, Yahoo is limited to the list of possible members of Icahn’s director slate.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald