Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: HuffPo’s Eric Hippeau Stepping Down From Yahoo Board as Akamai’s David Kenny Steps In

Eric Hippeau (pictured here), longtime Yahoo board member and one of its earliest investors, will be stepping down as a director, according to sources close to the situation.

In a related move, sources said Akamai President David Kenny will be joining the board of the Internet giant.

The changes become official at Yahoo’s regular board meeting on Tuesday, although Hippeau will not step down until the summer.

Rather than quit immediately, as previous board members have, he will not stand for election at its annual shareholder meeting in June.

The departure of Hippeau and the arrival of Kenny comes at a critical time for Yahoo, which has been under great pressure from investors to revive its growth and re-ignite innovation in the face of more nimble competitors.

Under CEO Carol Bartz, the company is still in the midst of a turnaround, and Wall Street has been losing patience with her and also its somewhat ineffectual board.

Hippeau has been on that board since 1996, which is approximately 132 years in Internet time.

The longtime Web investor and publisher–at Softbank and Ziff-Davis–has a lot of online experience.

Sources said Hippeau felt he had been on the board long enough and it was time to go. It has certainly been a wild ride, from insane Web 1.0 hypergrowth to a bruising takeover fight with Microsoft.

The addition of Kenny to the board is a welcome one. As BoomTown has previously reported, Yahoo had tried to bring him on before and he declined.

With both tech and advertising experience, Kenny is also a natural possibility for a board leader, as well as a potential top exec if Yahoo keeps going sideways.

According to his bio at Akamai, which he joined last fall, he is “responsible for leading Akamai’s business operations, including the company’s product groups; global sales, services, and marketing; engineering; and networks and operations.”

Before Akamai, he ran VivaKi and was a member of the management board of its parent, Publicis Groupe, the huge ad and marketing company.

Kenny ran Publicis’s overall digital and interactive strategy. He came to Publicis after it bought Digitas, where he was chairman and CEO.

Before that, the Harvard Business School graduate worked at consulting firm Bain & Company and also in marketing and strategy at General Motors.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment and Hippeau did not respond to an email query. And an email to my new bestest friend Kenny also got no response.


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle