Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

More CEO Choices for Yahoo: Freston, Jordan, Bonnie and Two Rosenblatts!

BoomTown might have been remiss in my post yesterday on top candidates for the Yahoo CEO job, after the news Monday that Jerry Yang is stepping down, by leaving out several key possibilities.

Yesterday’s roster included News Corp.’s Peter Chernin, Google’s Tim Armstrong, Kevin Johnson of Juniper Networks (JNPR) and also two Yahoo board members, among others. (The main internal candidate, Yahoo President Sue Decker, seems unlikely to get the nod.)

So here is an addendum to my initial list–all of whom are Yahoo (YHOO) outsiders.

Tom Freston:

Chernin is not the only media mogul whose name is being bandied about–the other prominent one is former Viacom head Tom Freston.

Freston apparently got shafted by the–let’s be polite here–disturbingly volatile founder of Viacom (VIA), Sumner Redstone, for not buying MySpace. In fact, News Corp. (NWS), which also owns this Web site, did. But Freston remains a well-respected and creative exec and has been dabbling in the Internet space since leaving Viacom.

Also, Oprah and Arianna love Freston–which is all I need to know.

Jeff Jordan:

Jeff Jordan, the former top eBay (EBAY) exec who is now the CEO of OpenTable, was also on the short list for COO at Facebook, a job that went to former Google exec Sheryl Sandberg.

While the restaurant reservations Web start-up has been headed for a public offering, that event has obviously been pushed out indefinitely by the econalypse, which might be just the impetus to convince Jordan that bussing tables all day is too dull.

Some speculate that Yahoo could buy OpenTable and get Jordan in the process.

Richard Rosenblatt:

Another interesting idea is Richard Rosenblatt of Demand Media, a company that Yahoo was sniffing around not too long ago.

The network of social-networking sites and apps maker is an innovative play in the space and might give Yahoo some much needed Web 2.0 DNA. Demand could still be bought by Yahoo, in order to put Rosenblatt into place.

(Rosenblatt, for those who do not remember, ran the company that owned MySpace, and he was key to selling it to News Corp.)

Also, Lance Armstrong likes Rosenblatt.

Shelby Bonnie:

A reader actually made the excellent suggestion of former CNET head Shelby Bonnie, who is now investing in start-ups. Bonnie is another steady exec–despite leaving CNET, now owned by CBS (CBS), under an options backdating controversy–and is well-liked in the Internet industry.

Yahoo would be a much bigger job than he has ever held, although he certainly has both tech and advertising experience online.

David Rosenblatt:

Lastly, especially if Yahoo is interested in an exec who has turnaround talent, there is probably no better a choice than DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt. An experienced online advertising exec, he is also sharply outspoken and knows how to get companies in line and fast.

He is also impossibly rich after Google (GOOG) bought DoubleClick out from under–wait for it–Yahoo recently. While he is still running the show for Google, after having decided to stay, Yahoo might present an interesting challenge for the very savvy Rosenblatt.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.


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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