Yahoo! Shakes Up the Board

 | Dec 13, 2012 | 1:41 PM EST  | Comments
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Dealbook's Michael de la Merced broke news this morning that the Yahoo! (YHOO) board is on the cusp of changing its makeup once again.

According to de la Merced, Yahoo! will push out Intuit (INTU) CEO Brad Smith and Weather Channel CEO David Kenny and replace them with Max Levchin, who is the chairman of Yelp's (YELP) board and founder of Web-app developer Slide, which was sold to Google (GOOG) a couple of years ago.

Kara Swisher of AllThingsD wrote about the idea of Levchin joining the Yahoo! board several months ago. It seems like it will actually happen now.

But why is it happening? Because one of Yahoo! Director Dan Loeb's friends, Michael Wolf, who's also on the Yahoo! board, knows Levchin from Slide's board of advisors. He introduced Loeb and Levchin before Loeb launched the proxy fight that eventually led to former Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson's departure.

When Loeb met Levchin, he was going around Silicon Valley introducing himself to the tech elite and discussing his ideas for the company. Most in the Valley were skeptical that Loeb would succeed. There was a perception that he was just a slash-and-burn hedge fund manager from New York.

Levchin didn't want to join a dissident proxy slate. So Loeb waited. And waited. Now, it seems, he finally has his man.

Does it matter for the stock? Sure it does.

The stock has been on a roll because of (a) increased confidence that new CEO Marissa Mayer can turn the Internet pioneer around in its core business and (b) Loeb's efforts at the board level to unlock value in the non-core assets.

Levchin will definitely help on the former task of getting the rest of the world to realize that the core operations at Yahoo! are worth a heck of a lot more than where Wall Street currently pegs them. He brings tech street cred from his PayPal, Slide, Google, Yelp and angel investing experience.

Wednesday's release of the new mobile Flickr app was universally praised, and another signal that Yahoo! still has some amazing assets that, with new energy infused into them, can rise like Lazarus from the dead.

Levchin should certainly help in that effort.

With Smith and Kenny leaving, we're really saying goodbye to the last remnants of the Carol Bartz and Roy Bostock board. It's probably best for all parties to turn the page on that era.

Board moves don't really do much for a company's stock price; this one does no harm and should help the stock keep its upward trajectory.

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