Yahoo executive Ross Levinsohn is leaving the company after Yahoo went with someone else to permanently lead it. He had been interim CEO. Two weeks ago, Yahoo named longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer as its fifth CEO in as many years. She’ll be the latest person to attempt a turnaround at the struggling Internet pioneer.
Here are some key developments involving Yahoo Inc. and its performance:
Nov. 17, 2008: Yahoo Inc. says co-founder Jerry Yang will step down as CEO as soon as a replacement is found. It ends a rocky reign marked by Yang’s refusal to sell the Internet company to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion, or $33 per share, in May 2008. Yahoo’s board had been facing pressure to push him out as its stock plunged to its lowest levels since early 2003 and well below Microsoft’s last offer price.
Jan. 13, 2009: Yahoo names technology veteran Carol Bartz as its new chief executive, bringing in a no-nonsense leader known for developing a clear focus.
Feb. 26: Yahoo announces a management shake-up. Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen is pushed out, while Yahoo’s chief technology officer and its top advertising executive in the United States get expanded duties.
April 21: Yahoo announces plans to cut nearly 700 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce.
June 3: At an investors conference, Bartz says a turnaround will take time. She also plays down talk of turning over Yahoo’s search operations to Microsoft.
June 11: Yahoo hires a cost-cutting specialist, Tim Morse, as its new chief financial officer.
June 25: At a shareholders meeting, Bartz seeks to assure investors that she will polish Yahoo’s tarnished brand and end a three-year financial funk that has depressed the company’s stock.
July 29: Microsoft and Yahoo announce a 10-year search deal. Yahoo turns over responsibility for search technology to Microsoft, while Yahoo concentrates on sales of billboard-style advertising on the Web.
Feb. 18, 2010: Regulators in the U.S. and Europe approve the search partnership.
March 2: In pleading for patience, Bartz points to the years it took Steve Jobs to revive Apple Inc. after his return in 1997.
Oct. 7: Yahoo rolls out new tools to get people to the information they seek more quickly, especially when searching about entertainment, sports and major events. The hope is to distinguish itself from its Internet search partner, Microsoft, because Yahoo gets a cut of ad revenue when searches are done on its own site.
Dec. 16: Word leaks of services that Yahoo is thinking of shutting down, days after it shed 600 employees, or about 4 percent of its workforce.
May 10, 2011: Yahoo makes a surprise disclosure that Alibaba Group, one of China’s most powerful Internet companies, had spun off its online payment service, Alipay. The split causes investors to re-evaluate the value of Yahoo’s then-43 percent stake in Alibaba.
June 23: Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock seeks to defuse speculation about Bartz’s job security at Yahoo’s annual shareholders meeting, only to have it ignited again at the end of the session by an exasperated investor.
Sept. 6: Yahoo fires Bartz after less than three years on the job. Morse, the chief financial officer whom Bartz lured from chip-maker Altera Corp., is named interim CEO.
Jan. 4, 2012: Yahoo names Scott Thompson, president of eBay Inc.’s PayPal division, as Yahoo’s new CEO, its fourth in less than five years.
Jan. 17: Co-founder Yang leaves the company as he steps down from the board of directors. He had been on Yahoo’s board since its 1995 inception.
Feb. 7: Chairman Roy Bostock and three other longtime board members say they won’t seek re-election to give Thompson an enhanced team of independent directors. Many Yahoo shareholders had been clamoring for Bostock to step down since the company balked Microsoft’s 2008 takeover offer.
March 25: Yahoo announces three new board members, gearing up for a proxy fight with one of its largest shareholders, Third Point LLC, which is trying to win four seats on Yahoo’s board.
March 28: Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who controls a 5.8 percent stake in the company through his Third Point fund, blasts Yahoo’s board appointments as “illogical.”
April 4 Yahoo announces plans to lay off 2,000 employees, or about 14 percent of its workforce. The cuts are part of an overhaul aimed at focusing on what Thompson believes are Yahoo’s strengths while also trying to address its weaknesses in the increasingly important mobile computing market.
April 6: Thompson unveils a plan to reorganize the company into three main divisions focused on users, advertisers and technology. It will take effect on May 1. Yahoo believes the new structure will improve users’ experience with Yahoo, work closely with advertisers in different regions of the globe and strengthen the company’s technology group.
April 17: Yahoo reports first-quarter earnings, the first results under Thompson. The company shows signs of modest progress. Net income rose 28 percent from a year ago. Revenue grew less than 1 percent, but it’s a breakthrough because the company’s revenue has been steadily falling for years.
May 3: Loeb, the disgruntled Yahoo shareholder, questions Thompson’s qualifications and integrity after exposing a misrepresentation about the executive’s education. Yahoo confirms that Thompson doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stonehill College, as Yahoo previously stated. Thompson only has an accounting degree from Stonehill. Yahoo blames an “inadvertent error” and says its board will investigate.
May 4: Loeb calls on Yahoo to fire Thompson and gives the company a Monday deadline.
May 7: Deadline passes with Thompson still on the job. Loeb’s Third Point makes a legal demand for internal records about Thompson’s hiring. In a memo to employees, Thompson apologizes for the distractions caused by furor without offering an explanation on who was responsible. He also promises to cooperate with an investigation by Yahoo’s board.
May 8: Patti Hart, who led the committee that hired Thompson, surrenders her board seat, becoming the first casualty in the dust-up. Hart says she decided to not to seek re-election to Yahoo’s board to focus on her job as CEO at gambling machine maker International Game Technology. Yahoo also says its probe will be handled by a committee of three directors who joined the company’s board after Thompson was hired.
May 13: Thompson is out at Yahoo. Ross Levinsohn, who oversees Yahoo’s media and advertising services worldwide, is named interim CEO.
May 20: Yahoo agrees to sell half of its prized stake in Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba for about $7.1 billion. The deal calls for Alibaba to buy back half of the 40 percent stake that Yahoo owns in the Chinese company for $6.3 billion cash and up to $800 million of Alibaba preferred shares. After paying taxes, Yahoo expects to get about $4.2 billion. Most of the cash is expected to go to shareholders.
June 18: Yahoo says Michael Barrett, a former colleague of its interim CEO, will run Yahoo’s advertising sales team as chief revenue officer.
July 6: Yahoo and Facebook agree to settle a patent dispute, averting a potentially lengthy legal battle. They also agree to an advertising alliance that could help Yahoo recover some of the revenue lost as marketers shift spending to a larger, more engaged audience at Facebook. Hulu discloses that its CEO, Jason Kilar, has decided not to pursue the top job at Yahoo, leaving Levinsohn as the lead candidate to be permanent CEO.
July 12: Thompson faces angry investors at annual shareholders meeting. Responding to skeptical questioning, Levinsohn talks like someone who expected to be running Yahoo for more than just a few months.
July 16: Yahoo names longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer as its next CEO.
Monday: Yahoo announces Levinsohn is leaving the company.