When you take a step back, it’s quite a feat that Marissa Mayer has stayed at Yahoo for so long. Before she took over as CEO in 2012, the beleaguered internet company had cycled through six CEOs in six years.
Mayer, though, is now under fire for Yahoo’s lackluster stock performance, which is down more than 30% since the beginning of the year. She had hoped to appease investors by spinning off its remaining stake in Alibaba—which had largely propped up Yahoo’s share price until China’s recent market crash—but there remains uncertainty as to whether the deal would go through tax-free.
As a result, some investors are wondering whether there will be yet another CEO change at Yahoo. In October, investor Eric Jackson, once an ardent Mayer supporter, publicly called for her resignation. On Nov. 30, Robert Peck, a respected analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, added fuel to the speculation by releasing a short list of potential replacements—”merely to address the investor questions we are getting on ‘…if not Ms. Mayer, then who?'” he wrote in a note sent to clients.
Peck narrowed down his list to 10 names based on a combination of their experience as CEOs of public companies, familiarity with Yahoo’s business, media and technology background, ability to turn around companies, and likelihood they would accept the top job at Yahoo. Here’s his list:
- Ross Levinsohn—served as interim CEO of Yahoo before Mayer, former CEO of Guggenheim Digital Media, former president of Fox Interactive Media
- Dan Rosensweig—president and CEO of Chegg and former chief operating officer at Yahoo
- Sheryl Sandberg—chief operating officer of Facebook (though Peck said she was unlikely to leave the social network)
- Jim Lanzone—president and CEO of CBS Interactive
- David Rosenblatt—CEO of 1stdibs.com, former CEO of DoubleClick, former president of display advertising at Google
- Margo Georgiadis—former COO at Groupon, former vice president of global sales operations at Google
- Susan Wojcicki—CEO of YouTube
- Beth Comstock—vice chair of GE
- Linda Yaccarino—chairwoman of advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCUniversal
- Jason Kilar—Vessel CEO, former CEO of Hulu
Of this list, Peck highlighted Levinsohn and Rosensweig for their experience at Yahoo. ”Much as Jack Dorsey was seen as uniquely qualified to be Twitter’s CEO for his intimate knowledge of Twitter, many point to Mr. Levinsohn and Mr. Rosensweig for the same attributes,” he said.
None of this suggests that Mayer will soon be out of a job, but “we believe that if the core continues to struggle that investors will get more agitated and we could see a change in the CEO,” Peck added.
A Yahoo representative declined to comment.