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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Levinsohn Leaving Yahoo

Story first reported from USA Today

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who was snubbed in the search for a permanent leader at Yahoo, is leaving the Internet portal.

Yahoo announced the departure in a securities filing on Monday.

With much fanfare, Yahoo appointed 37-year-old Marissa Mayer as CEO two weeks ago. Retaining Levinsohn, who had been interim CEO since May, would have been one of her first big triumphs.

Levinsohn's exit is not unexpected. Levinsohn, 48, had been head of Yahoo's global media business and had pushed the company to enter into exclusive partnerships with the likes of CNBC and Tom Hanks to create original content.

But Levinsohn was passed over twice by the company's board in favor of other top executives, including Scott Thompson, who resigned in May over discrepancies on his resume after just four months on the job.

The appointment of Mayer, a former Google top executive who oversaw its email, mapping and news services, suggests the company intends to focus more on the functionality of its products rather than on the media content which was Levinsohn's domain.

Levinsohn leaves Yahoo with a hefty severance package. As part of the agreement, he was granted 67,000 shares of restricted Yahoo stock and the option to buy another 250,000 shares at $15.80 apiece. Both benefits were immediately available to Levinsohn.

He also received a lump sum equal to his salary and bonus of about $1.5 million along with health premiums and faster vesting of stock options he had accrued already. Levinsohn's compensation package was valued at $12 million last year.

Here's biographical information on Levinsohn:

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Brief stint as interim Yahoo CEO. Was executive vice president and head of global media for Yahoo, where he led strategy, engineering and content creation. Prior positions included president of News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media; senior management at AltaVista, an early search engine; and programming work at CBS Sportsline and HBO Inc.

CO-FOUNDER: Fuse Capital, an investment and strategic equity management firm.

BOARD MEMBERSHIPS: Freedom Communications, Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program.

EDUCATION: B.A. in communications from American University.

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