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Vodafone's ex-top man shortlisted

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Yahoo!'s search for a new leader has brought Arun Sarin into the frame, as someone with experience leading a public company into developing-market expansion who is currently at a loose end.

Arun stepped down as chief executive of Vodafone back in May, after masterminding the company's expansion into India and Eastern Europe as well as last-minute deals in America. Since then he's been busy trekking across the Himalayas and moving back to California, and is presumably now looking for new challenges to take on.

Yahoo! certainly fits the "challenge" criteria: founder Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO last month and internal candidates remain tainted by the we-won't-be-bought-by-Microsoft debacle, so there's a real need for new blood. Someone to take the helm and give investors confidence there is a proper strategy in place, as opposed to random cost cutting - the search engine is expected to lay off ten per cent of staff later today, and senior executives aren't waiting for a new owner to shake things up.

That's assuming that Yahoo! continues to exist as a separate company. Unless the board can do something quickly, Yahoo! is at risk of being snapped up in a discount sale, and the way it's shedding staff there might not be much left by February next year, the earliest a decision is likely to be made given the Christmas break. ®

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