Yahoo! Names Replacement for Koogle

Struggling Santa Clara, Calif.-based Internet portal Yahoo Inc. named Terry S. Semel, former co-chairman of Time Warner’s movie and music division, as its new chairman and CEO, effective May 1.

Semel, 58, who also purchased 1 million Yahoo shares at $17.62 per share in a private placement transaction, replaces Tim Koogle, who said last month he would step aside as CEO but remain as chairman. Now, Koogle will be named vice chairman, “a transitional role he is expected to retain until August 2001, and will then remain on Yahoo’s board of directors,” the company said.

Semel got both titles after Koogle and the board decided it was best to “make sure there is no question about who is running the company,” Koogle said in a conference call this afternoon to discuss the appointment.

Yahoo President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Mallett and Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker continue in their current roles and will report to Semel.

“(Semel’s) vast and successful professional experience complements our current people and assets,” said Jerry Yang, Yahoo co-founder. “His marketing expertise, brand building strengths, creativity, passion for our business, and reputation for setting and achieving high standards and goals while driving winning strategies, make Terry the clear choice for this role.”

A 24-year veteran of Warner Bros., Semel is noted for his role as chairman and co-chief executive officer. Semel and his partner, Robert Daly, are credited with building the company from a single revenue source generating less than $1 billion to nearly $11 billion in total revenues from multiple, diverse businesses.

Prior to working for Warner Bros., Semel was president of Walt Disney’s Theatrical Distribution division and previously was president of CBS’ Theatrical Distribution division.

Semel in the conference call cited Yahoo’s potential and its “enviable balance sheet.”

“The whole idea of being part of something conceived to change the world was too great an opportunity to miss,” he said. “I’m a builder with Yahoo I have a solid foundation to build on.” He said he has spent the past 14 months backgrounding himself on the Internet and online companies.

Yahoo has seen steady stock price declines as the tech economy hit the skids, and in March Goldman, Sachs & Co. cut its rating on the stock, anticipating revenue worries throughout the year and predicting that the company would have to distance itself from advertising — its chief source of revenue — during 2001.

The stock closed Monday at $17.62, well down from its 52-week high of $173, but up from its 52-week low of $11.37. In the first quarter, Yahoo saw revenues decline 22 percent to $180.2 million. Net loss totaled $11.5 million compared to positive income of $67.6 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The stock was down 52 cents in early afternoon trading.

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