Bill Neukom As New Yahoo CEO?

Yahoo needs a high-profile pants-kicking, and Neukom could deliver it.

By Scott McGrew
|  Thursday, Sep 15, 2011  |  Updated 9:14 AM PDT
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Bill Neukom As New Yahoo CEO?

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Peter Neukom spent 25 years defending Microsoft from antitrust suits (and bad press). He could lead Yahoo out of the wilderness, too.

Bill Neukom is looking for a job. Yahoo is looking for a CEO. Coincidence?  Well, actually, it is. But still...

The San Francisco Giants announced it will part ways with its managing partner less than a year after winning the World Series. The team says it had hoped to announce the news after the 2011 baseball season, but was scooped by Mercury News reporter Mark Purdy. Larry Baer will take over Neukom's duties.

"Make no mistake" says Purdy. "The move is not Neukom's idea."

The best guess for the split is that Neukom failed to consult with the rest of the Giants' leadership when making big business decisions like paying Aubrey Huff $22 million or hiring Carlos Beltran.

Which brings us to Yahoo. In the high tech world, $22 million is a rounding error. Yahoo needs not only a leader, but also one who can bring the tech company to the "World Series". And by "World Series" we mean "Stop the company from becoming the laughingstock of search." 

That could be Neukom.

Neukom has experience in high tech -- he's best known as the former lead counsel at Microsoft for 25 years, building the legal staff there from five to more than 600 in-house lawyers. He defended that company against accusations from Apple that it had stolen the idea of the graphical user interface, and fended off anti-trust accusations from the federal government.

Yahoo doesn't need a visionary. It needs a hard-nosed lawyer in its corner.

While it's still the most visited portal in the world, its business dealings with its Chinese subsidiaries has left it embarrassed and weakened.

Its board of directors could use a good talking to.

It needs to make some noise, says Yahoo VP Ross Levinson: "We need a little bravado in our step. We have to get our own house in order", he told Paid Content.

Hiring Bill Neukom could do that.

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