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Will CFO Decker Take the Reins at Yahoo?

Yahoo taps CFO Susan Decker to head the most prominent of the company's three business units, sparking speculation that she is the favorite choice ...
Stephen TaubDecember 6, 2006

Yahoo announced a sweeping shake-up that places chief financial officer Susan Decker in a position to possibly head up the Internet company by the spring of 2007.

The company said chief operating officer Dan Rosensweig will leave at the end of March.

The company has reorganized into three groups, with Decker heading up what seems to be the most important unit—the Advertiser & Publisher Group.

“Decker has also been an important contributor to the company’s business strategy, has set and managed all aspects of financial and administrative direction, and has recently overseen the Yahoo Marketplaces business unit, which she will continue to oversee as part of the Advertiser & Publisher Group,” the company stated in a press release.

Yahoo said in its announcement that the Advertiser & Publisher Group “will lead the transformation of how advertisers connect with their target customers across the Internet, with the goal of driving more value for more advertisers and publishers than any other company.”

It added that the goal is to create “a full-fledged global advertising network on and off Yahoo.”

The other two major groups at Yahoo are the Audience Group and the Technology Group.

Terry Semel, Yahoo chairman and chief executive officer, said it has launched a search for a new chief financial officer to succeed Decker, who will assist in this search. She will continue to serve as CFO in the interim.

The company said the management changes will take place January 1 and it expects to complete its reorganization by the end of the first quarter.

Before joining Yahoo in June 2000 as CFO, Decker spent 14 years with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she served most recently as the global director of equity research. Earlier, she was a media analyst.

She qualified for Institutional Investor magazine’s All America Research Team for 10 consecutive years.

She currently serves on the boards of directors of Intel, Costco Wholesale, and The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).

Many observers speculate that the new assignment places Decker as a potential successor as CEO.

“This clearly makes Sue Decker the odds-on candidate to succeed Terry Semel,” Jordan Rohan, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg.

A Yahoo spokeswoman told Reuters the company does not publicly discuss its succession plans, adding that Semel has no plans to leave the company.

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