Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

My Picks for Yahoo’s Next CEO — Maybe Snoop Dogg, Ya Digg?

The firing of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz leaves open one of the bigger and more difficult jobs in tech — one that has taken its toll on many.

Nonetheless, rapper Snoop Dogg stepped right up to the Twitter plate yesterday, as soon as news broke of the ouster.

Tweeted Snoop Dogg:

“Im takn over as tha CEO of Yahoo. Need sum of tha Snoop Dogg content ya digg. Nuff Said.”

Not nearly nuff!

Thus, while the Yahoo board has yet to begin a search, I have already been hard at work on selecting the next CEO.

(Last time, the company took none of my suggestions, but after the most recent result, the directors might want to pay mind!)

Sources said Yahoo is looking for an experienced Internet type, either from inside or outside the company.

“Yahoo has put its flag in the ground as a digital media company with a technology base,” said one source. “The job requires big buckets of expertise and needs someone who will grow the company.”

Here I go with the outsiders:

Peter Chernin: The former News Corp. exec has been eyeing Yahoo for a possible takeover with other investors. Both Yahoo and I had picked him when co-founder Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO almost three years ago, and he had declined the offer. This time, perhaps a big chunk of the company and total autonomy would work, even if making a hit like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is more fun.

Sheryl Sandberg: The COO of Facebook is sort of the anti-Bartz, with a smooth and efficient persona, and she is an experienced tech exec. But the former Google exec is at a place of growth at the social networking site, and is unlikely to want to leave the big show, especially since a blockbuster IPO is looming.

Jason Kilar: The Hulu CEO is in the midst of the process of selling the premium video service, with Yahoo as a bidder. While he has some tense relations with the studios, Kilar is top notch in his dedication to consumer products, and has a lot of experience from his stint at Amazon, too.

Dan Rosensweig: Currently CEO of IPO-headed Chegg textbook rental service, the former Yahoo exec never got a chance to run the company as its top leader. Well-connected and still well-liked by the troops at Yahoo, it still would be pretty hard for him to go home again.

Dave Goldberg: Sure, he’s married to Sandberg (see above), but the savvy CEO of polling phenom SurveyMonkey is one of the sharpest thinkers in Silicon Valley. He sold his music company to Yahoo many years ago and has a strong background in consumer online services.

Jon Miller: The chief digital exec at News Corp. almost got the CEO spot years ago when Carl Icahn was agitating for change at Yahoo, before Time Warner blocked him via a noncompete. With the mishegas at the media giant, and dwindling digital businesses there, it might be a good escape hatch for Miller.

Susan Wojcicki: The accomplished Google exec, who runs all its ad products, has the kind of calm, cool, collected persona that Yahoo could use right about now. The search giant was founded in her garage, and she has been a key part of its success since then. Wojcicki is also an understated class act in hey-look-at-me Silicon Valley.

Todd Bradley: The Hewlett-Packard exec just got blindsided when the company kicked webOS to the curb. While he is in line to run a possible spinoff of the device business, Bradley might also want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

Mike McCue: The CEO of Flipboard would certainly energize Yahoo with his intense focus on quality and consumer delight. The news app start-up could be a good addition to Yahoo, and McCue, the former Netscape and Microsoft exec who is well-liked in the Internet scene, would be, too.

Joanne Bradford: The former Yahoo advertising head bolted Bartz’s regime early on to run revenue for Demand Media. Well-liked in the ad business, she also knows where all the bodies are buried at Yahoo. Since ads and media are key at the company, she’d make an interesting choice.

Yusuf Mehdi: The Microsoft online exec would also be a left-field candidate to run Yahoo, given his even-keeled personality and longtime experience in the sector. And, though pricey, Mehdi’s impact on Bing search has been important. But he’s also been involved in the software giant’s lackluster ad and search partnership and still has not turned around the situation at MSN.

Kevin Johnson: The former Microsoft exec and current CEO of Juniper was once slated to be the CEO of Yahoo, had Microsoft managed to win the company in its hostile takeover attempt. In fact, Johnson was the architect of the idea of Yahoo running the media and Microsoft running the tech.

Tim Armstrong: Well, he might have been a good candidate before the downward slide of AOL and a recent series of questionable judgments. If Armstrong can’t keep a loud tech blogger in line, it’s not clear he can wrangle the Yahoo beast.

And here’s the insider scoop:

Ross Levinsohn: The former News Corp. exec is running the Americas for Yahoo, which puts him in charge of the company’s key businesses. But he’s still struggling to turn the ad business around, and how well he does that could be a major determinant of his success. But fantastic hair!

Blake Irving: The former Microsoft exec has an amiable nature and is well-liked at Yahoo, but he still needs to show that the company can ship some innovative products, and quickly. Like Livestand, the news reader, which is muchly late.

David Kenny: The Yahoo board member is now president of Akamai, which might preclude him from the job. But the well-regarded exec — he’s a snazzy dresser, too — ran one of the Internet’s top digital ad agencies and now has tech chops from the content delivery network.

Memo to Yahoo board: I have a million more ideas, from former Viacom exec Tom Freston to former Yahoo board member Eric Hippeau. Or why not bring back a passel of former Yahoos to advise, such as former CEO Terry Semel or former president Sue Decker?

Or Oprah! I hear Winfrey will be in Silicon Valley later this week, and she has a lot more free time now.

Like Snoop Dogg, she would fo shizzle be the bomb to cover.

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