Published May 14, 2012
Name: Ross Levinsohn
Position: Interim CEO
Previous role: Executive Vice President and Head of Global Media for Yahoo
Education: BA from American University
Quote: "There aren't many platforms like this in the world. I've always believed in the power of the distribution Yahoo has."
Yahoo's (YHOO) most recent CEO, Scott Thompson, resigned amid revelations about falsified information on his official bio. Looking to shore up faltering confidence, Yahoo went inward for its interim leader, ad business veteran Ross Levinsohn.
With a tremendous amount of online advertising experience, analysts say Levinsohn will need to apply his skills to strategic development and content creation to keep Yahoo a viable competitor in today's market.
Levinsohn is a true believer in Yahoo and has said that he doesn't think the company gets the credit it deserves. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he rattled off a litany of Yahoo's successes: No. 1 in the U.S. for the last seven months, 700 million views every day, and twice the size of TMZ.
Yahoo's problem, Levinsohn maintains, is not that Yahoo is under-performing but that it hasn't done a good enough job telling the story of its incredible success. He will likely use his impressive advertising background to help tell the Yahoo story.
Levinsohn said one thing that initially attracted him to Yahoo in 2010 were the company's assets, which he sees as a tremendous opportunity for development. Not content to be known simply as a reliable aggregator, Levinsohn wants to see Yahoo grow and define its own voice.
He argues that Yahoo is in a great position to advance. "We sell billions of dollars in advertising," he told the Journal.
Despite being one of the web's most visited sites, Yahoo has not fared well in the stock market relative to competitors such as Google (GOOG) and Facebook. In fewer than five years, the organization has seen four different CEOs. In the beginning of this year, Scott Thompson was tapped to revive the organization as CEO but left on Sunday after fallout from false information on his official bio, which listed a college degree he never received.
For the interim position CEO spot, Yahoo looked to Levinsohn. He came to Yahoo in 2010, when former chief executive Carol Bartz appointed him to lead the Yahoo Americas region, a division that generates most of the company's revenue. He focused his energy on vital issues, including monetizing assets, content creation and programming.
He also led Yahoo's media web sites for news, sports and entertainment. He was previously president of News Corporation's (NWSA) FOX Interactive Media. In this role, he oversaw Internet and new media content. (News Corp. is the parent of FOX Business.)
He held a senior management position at AltaVista, a web search engine, and programmed for CBS Sportsline and HBO Inc.
He also co-founded Fuse Capital, an investment and strategic equity management firm, and is a board member of Freedom Communications and Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program.