Ross Levinsohn Exits Yahoo

/// Ross Levinsohn Exits Yahoo

July 31, 2012  |  Blog

Ross Levinsohn, one of Yahoo Inc.’s YHOO -0.81% top executives, said Monday he is leaving the Internet company after the board chose longtime Google Inc. GOOG -0.42% executive Marissa Mayer to become CEO.

Mr. Levinsohn, an executive vice president, had been Yahoo’s interim chief executive since May. His exit was anticipated after the hiring of Ms. Mayer two weeks ago.

The 49-year-old said in a statement on Monday that “it is time for me to look for the next challenge.” He didn’t say where he might go next.

Yahoo awarded Mr. Levinsohn 67,000 restricted stock units, which are worth about $1 million, and 250,000 stock options with an exercise price of $15.80 apiece. Yahoo shares closed Monday at $15.98.

He will also receive a cash severance equal to his a base salary, annual bonus for 2012 months and a portion of his bonus for 2013.

“It has been an incredible journey for me and I could not be prouder of what we accomplished over the past few years helping define Yahoo as a leader in digital media and advertising,” Mr. Levinsohn said.

Mr. Levinsohn, who is based in Los Angeles and joined Yahoo in late 2010, previously led Yahoo’s media websites, including its popular news, sports and entertainment sites. He had also headed ad sales and other units in Yahoo’s Americas region, which generates the vast majority of the company’s revenue. Before Yahoo, Mr. Levinsohn worked at News Corp.’s NWSA -0.47% Fox Interactive Media group and also at HBO and AltaVista. (News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.)

In hiring the 37-year-old Ms. Mayer, Yahoo’s board decided to put the company in the hands of a technology executive with computer-science credentials rather than a media executive with experience in working with advertising agencies on Madison Avenue, which are Yahoo’s biggest clients.

Yahoo’s board members wanted a “product” expert who could make Yahoo more relevant to today’s Internet users, people familiar with the matter have said.

Mr. Levinsohn oversaw Yahoo following the resignation in May of then-CEO Scott Thompson, a former president of eBay Inc.’s EBAY +0.84% PayPal, over some misstated credentials.

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