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Why Yahoo Won't Find A Good New CEO

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The ouster of Jerry Yang as CEO of Yahoo has been a long time in the making, and now the search is on for a replacement. Silicon Alley Insider compiled a long list of possible new Yahoo CEOs, but the New York Times points out that Yahoo's new world won't necessarily be defined by whoever ends up with the job:

Mr. Yang, a Yahoo co-founder, said on Monday that he would give up the chief executive role once a successor is named and revert to being "chief Yahoo," the strategy position he held before his 18 turbulent months running the company.

But even before its new boss is selected, Yahoo has an even more fundamental decision to make, say analysts and other Internet watchers. Does it want to remain an independent company, trying to expand in a range of businesses while it combats Google in the crucial arena of Web search? Or should it finally listen to the devotees of deal-making and sell some or all of itself to another Internet player, most likely Microsoft?

24/7 Wall Street says that the combination of those situations -- the need for a new CEO and the long desire of many shareholders to sell the company -- mean that the new Yahoo CEO won't necessarily be a particularly talented person:

According to Reuters, "To impress shareholders, Yahoo Inc's next chief executive needs just one qualification: the willingness to do a deal with Microsoft Corp."

What does that mean? First, no one who really wants to turn Yahoo! around will take the job. The leaves out presumed front-runner Peter Chernin, COO of News Corp (NWS). He is not going to leave Rupert Murdoch for a few weeks on the West Coast.

The other by-product of the Yahoo! boards plans is that even a modestly skilled candidate can take the job. All that person needs to do it make sure that they get $20 million or $30 million if the company is sold. And, they need to vote "yes" on a sale.