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Yahoo! chairman! falls! on! his! sword!

Bostock and three directors quit ailing web biz to save it

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Yahoo!'s chairman and three other board members are stepping down as the once-mighty web firm continues its drawn-out internal shake-up.

Chairman Roy Bostock announced the purge in a letter to shareholders, saying the directors had chosen not to stand for re-election to the board "in order to accelerate the company's transformation".

"The combination of a new chief executive officer with an enhanced team of independent directors would provide Yahoo! with the expertise and perspectives necessary to drive innovation and growth going forward," Bostock said. "Therefore, Mr Joshi, Mr Kern, Mr Wilson and I have volunteered not to stand for re-election at the next shareholders' meeting."

At the start of January, Yahoo appointed ex-PayPal president Scott Thompson to the role of CEO after previous chief Carol Bartz was sacked in September last year.

Shareholders have been gnashing their teeth with impatience as they wait to see how Yahoo! will turn its fortunes around. All sorts of possibilities have been entertained by speculators, including selling the whole company, or bits of it, to a variety of bidders. But Bostock's letter makes it clear they'll have to wait a little longer.

"We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders," he said.

A notion that has gained a lot of traction is the idea that Yahoo! could sell off its Asian assets, which are still worth a tidy sum, and use the cash to turn things around at its floundering US business. But once again, Bostock is not giving too much away.

"We are also in active discussions with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Japan," he said. "The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant. While we continue to devote significant resources to these discussions, we are not in a position at this time to provide further detail or to provide assurance that any transaction will be achieved."

Both Bostock and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang had become the focal point for frustrated shareholder rage, with many calling for their heads. In January, Yang bowed to this pressure, resigning from all his positions and his role on the board of directors of Alibaba.

"My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!" he said in a letter to the board.

Bostock and the other directors will stay where they are for now until the next shareholders' meeting, which is expected in the next few months.

"Thus, following this year's annual meeting, a majority of Yahoo!'s directors will be new to the board this year, and all directors will have joined the board since 2010. We believe that this reconfigured board, with a fresh set of perspectives and diverse set of skills, will enable the company to move forward even more aggressively," Bostock said. ®

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