Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Yahoo Hires Heidrick & Struggles for CEO Search

According to sources close to the situation, Yahoo has hired Heidrick & Struggles for its CEO search.

It will be a dicey job, since the effort is on a separate track than the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s wide-ranging strategic review, which is looking at a range of options including the sale of the company.

That’s why many see the move as window-dressing for Yahoo’s board, rather than any real interest in hiring a new leader.

Sources said that will make the search a difficult one for Yahoo, since any CEO candidate would be coming into a very volatile situation. In addition, Yahoo has been struggling — Struggles, struggling, get it? — to recharge its advertising and search business and also its product innovation cycle.

That’s the reason — among several others — that the board of Yahoo suddenly fired its former CEO Carol Bartz last month.

Heidrick has worked for Yahoo previously, in the now ill-conceived placement of Bartz by partner John Thompson. A different partner will be handling this assignment, sources said.

The pool of possible CEOs to lead Yahoo is not a large one, but could includes execs such as Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson, Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig, Skype CEO Tony Bates, John Pleasants of Disney’s Playdom, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and any number of top Google execs, as well as Yahoo board member and Akamai President David Kenny.

(I am, of course, waiting by the phone for the call.)

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik