Kara Swisher

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Yahoo’s Mayer Finally Parts Ways With CFO Tim Morse, as Exec House-Cleaning Continues

Marissa Mayer, in a move that was not unexpected, has replaced Yahoo CFO Tim Morse with longtime software-focused financial exec Ken Goldman.

When she bounced Yahoo’s longtime HR exec David Windley in August, just a month into her tenure, I noted:

“Several sources at the company said that they expect Mayer to replace almost the entire current executive team, from its CFO Tim Morse on down.”

Thus: Check, please!

Morse’s departure is part of a major house-cleaning by Mayer of many longtime Yahoo execs that she had not hired herself.

Besides Morse and Windley, many others have hit the road, including former interim CEO and media head Ross Levinsohn, CMO Mollie Spillman, U.S. sales head Wayne Powers and former strategy exec Jim Heckman.

(In fact, if I were a senior Yahoo exec B.M.M. — Before Marissa Mayer — I would be doing a resume refresh about now.)

Sources said she has been looking for a replacement for Morse since she arrived, seeking to put in place her own execs.

That would be Goldman, along with several other recent hires. He comes from Fortinet, a provider of threat management technologies. He has some consumer Internet experience, having previously worked at one of Web 1.0’s most exquisite disasters, Excite@Home.

Morse, who was hired in mid-2009 by ousted CEO Carol Bartz, had served — including as interim CEO — through a number of major crises at Yahoo.

(On a personal note, Morse has always been a polite, affable and stand-up guy in my dealings with him, even in some very dicey moments and though I most definitely had to have been very irritating to the buttoned-up exec.)

Sources said Morse had been trying to leave the company for some time now, but wanted to get through its board meeting last week before departing. He has been talking recently to a number of companies about moving there.

That’s no surprise, since sources also said that Mayer had been increasingly sidelining Morse — who had previously been a key player in decision-making at Yahoo — when making a series of decisions about Yahoo’s future.

For example, he was not heavily involved in the recent strategic presentation that she unveiled in very broad strokes to Yahoo employees today.

Here’s Yahoo’s official press release on the CFO switcheroo:

Yahoo! Names Ken Goldman as Chief Financial Officer

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) today announced that Ken Goldman will join the company as chief financial officer (CFO), effective Oct. 22. In this role, he will be responsible for Yahoo!’s global finance functions including financial planning and analysis, controllership, tax, treasury, and investor relations. Goldman will report directly to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.

“Ken is one of the most accomplished and respected financial executives in the technology industry having served as a CFO for more than 25 years, and we’re thrilled to have him join Yahoo!,” said Mayer. “His track record leading the financial strategy and stewardship of many successful public and private companies makes him an ideal choice for Yahoo! as we enter our next phase of growth.”

“Yahoo! is an iconic brand with an incredibly strong business model and balance sheet,” said Goldman. “I believe there is a lot of runway ahead for this business, and I look forward to working with Marissa and the rest of the executive team as we define Yahoo!’s future.”

Goldman brings more than 30 years of experience in financial, operational and business management. He joins Yahoo! from Fortinet, a provider of threat management technologies, where he served as CFO. Prior to Fortinet, Goldman spent nearly six years as senior vice president of finance and administration and CFO of Siebel Systems, until the company’s acquisition by Oracle Corp. in January 2006. He has held CFO positions at Excite@Home, Sybase, Cypress Semiconductor and VLSI Technology.

Goldman has served as a director on several public and private sector boards and has been named among “America’s 15 Most Connected Capitalists” by Forbes magazine.

Goldman succeeds Yahoo! CFO Tim Morse, who has been with the company since June 2009. Morse will leave the company later this fall.

“Tim has been a trusted leader for Yahoo! over the past three years and has expertly guided the company through some key periods as well as our most important strategic deals,” added Mayer. “I’ve personally relied on Tim’s knowledge and leadership in my first few months at Yahoo!. I know I speak for everyone in wishing him the best.”


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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