/// Yahoo’s Longtime Top Lawyer Mike Callahan Departs (Internal Memo!)
Mike Callahan, Yahoo’s longtime and powerful general counsel, is leaving the company. According to an internal memo, which is embedded below, Callahan does not have another job. But sources said that he has been considering departing the Silicon Valley Internet giant since the beginning of the year. Ron Bell, who is now deputy GC for products and the Americas region, has been named interim GC reporting to interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. It’s all very interim (except me — I started covering Yahoo in the mid-1990s and I never go away!). Callahan has been around a long time too, serving as the top lawyer at the company for almost a decade, after arriving at Yahoo in 1999. In his job, he has been in charge of legal affairs and public policy globally. In addition, he has played a very powerful role on a range of strategic, corporate governance and transactional issues at Yahoo. That has included everything from Yahoo’s nasty hostile takeover battle with Microsoft to its eventual search and advertising partnership with the software giant. He has also been a key adviser to Yahoo’s musical chair series of CEOs over the last few years. Callahan has also been deeply involved in Yahoo’s current patent settlement negotiations with Facebook — which, by the way, he was integral to waging under former CEO Scott Thompson. Those talks are ongoing, although complex, with a likely cross-licensing agreement at some point in July. Sources said that Callahan’s departure has nothing to do with the current investigation into the circumstances around the fake computer science degree on Thompson’s bio that caused a firestorm at Yahoo. Several directors are looking into the controversy, most especially how the false information got into Yahoo’s legal filings. That aside, the quiet and self-effacing Callahan has certainly been one of the steadier members of the management team over the years and his departure from Yahoo is a major one.