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Posts Tagged ‘Sue Decker’

Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Steps Down as CEO

JerryYang.jpgLooks like at least one chapter of the long Yahoo soap opera has drawn to a close. Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo back in 1995 announced yesterday that he was stepping down from his position as CEO. The move comes after many, many months of wrangling, proxy battling, and failed takeover and merger attempts — most notably Yang turned down a unsolicited offer of $31 a share in cash and stock from Microsoft — and more recently a failed move to strike a search-advertising partnership with Google.

Yang took over as CEO in June of 2007 amidst “high hopes” but quickly became the object of shareholder frustration and criticism after turning down the Microsoft offer amidst plummeting stock shares. Proxy battler Carl Icahn had promised to replace Yang if he was successful in his bid this past spring, but in the end the two managed to strike a truce, which kept Yang in is position. That said, apparently Yang has been considering stepping down for months. Wired says Yang is “out of the company he cofounded looking anything but a visionary, but instead as yet another high tech entrepreneur…who didn’t realized that time had passed him by.” On the upside Yang’s return to a figurehead position (Chief Yahoo) may pave the way for another deal with Microsoft. As for who might fill Yang’s shoes?

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Gates, Buffet Speak, and the Moguls Listen

SV200815.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

On the closing day of the Sun Valley Media Conference, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett held court with individual speeches about — what else — money.

Gates spoke about collecting it for his Gates Foundation, while Buffett discussed how it could be spent to help the country, according to people who listened.

GatesBuffet_7.13.jpg“Bill said amazing things,” said James Robinson III, former chairman of American Express. “He had all sorts of things to say about raising money for such things as medicine and diseases. He was very engaging and interesting, as he is every year.”

About 200 of those left at the conference attended the speeches, which had a ridiculously inordinate amount of security, with every entrance and exit to the speakers’ hall watched by four guards. Mediabistro, which was kept out by at least three different guards at entrances, thinks that’s what billionaire-type money brings.

But a few who stuck around to listen to billionaire mentality included William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt, Yahoo!’s Sue Decker, ICM’s Chris Silbermann, Page1Media’s Isaac Lee, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Starr & Co.’s Ken Starr, News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, Time Warner’s Richard Parsons, media chef Rachael Ray, Scripps Co.’s Ken Lowe, former Disney chair Michael Eisner, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Though almost half the invitees departed on Friday night, some stuck around to celebrate host Herb Allen with a special dinner last night. And, as every year, a special outdoors ice show (in the middle of summer!!!) took place behind the Sun Valley Lodge.

Friday night, Murdoch and Parsons were secluded at a table in the Sun Valley Lodge bar, discussing either some pending deal or the mixed drinks they wanted to order.

Parsons, who stepped down as Time Warner chair a few months ago, earlier told a reporter he was happy to be an observer at the conference this year rather than a corporate participant.

The King Speaks and Jerry Yang Shows Up

SV200814.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

As Herb Allen‘s Sun Valley retreat started to wind down Friday afternoon, some key executives were already boarding their Lear Jets and scooting home, missing out on speeches from the two RICHEST men in the world. They will all miss former Microsoft chair Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett tomorrow. Mediabistro will stick around in Sun Valley in beautiful weather (82 degrees and sunny) to gather up whatever crumbs can be taken from the rich men talks.

A presentation by Jordan’s King Abdullah II was well received by a few hundred conference-goers, but nobody wanted to talk about what the Jordanian said. Maybe they were concerned about their oil stocks. Security wasn’t especially heavy for the King, but the feeling on Herb Allen campus was that if any disruptions were started, the crack NYPD-filled security staff would take them down.

Yang_7.11.jpgYahoo! CEO Jerry Yang showed up in Sun Valley just in time to get an earful of complaining in the media about the earthworm status of the Yahoo!/Microsoft merger talks. He did meet quietly with the Google boys, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, but that was presumably made to discuss the display advertising deal that the two companies cut a few weeks back.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! President Sue Decker practically threw her arms up and gave in to media queries about what’s going to happen.

“Forget tomorrow, but in six months where will you be and where will Yahoo! be?” asked one intrepid journo.

“I have no idea,” Decker moaned.

Google’s Eric Schmidt: “We Took the Position That the World is Better Off With An Independent Yahoo!”

SV200810.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt stunned the hardened journalist crowd at the Sun Valley Media Conference with an unscheduled 75-minute press conference at which they discussed everything — Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! — and their brethren.

A news conference is unusual for the Sun Valley confab because they don’t often cater to journalists and especially not through lengthy pressers.

BrinPage_7.10.jpg

So what started as a short sit-down with Schmidt turned into a fascinating ride into the minds of the Google executives. And it may be the only time this week, the journos will be faced with deadlines and a hefty pile of interview info to sift through.

The Google trio were relaxed and somewhat light-hearted about the discussion, but they’re ultra-serious about how they handle business.

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Terry Semel Inspired As He Chats Up His Former Yahoo! Colleagues

SV20088.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

In the Sun Valley Lodge bar last night, where all the good deals are made, an informal pow-wow of sorts for Yahoo! executives and their new partners Google Inc. was underway with Google co-founder Larry Page, Yahoo! President Sue Decker and even former Yahoo! co-chair Terry Semel all having a drink. Semel would later tell a couple of inquiring reporters that the conversation at the table was inspiring.

Semel_7.10.jpgElsewhere in the bar, former Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein ambled in, but refused to say anything to reporters. “I’m not talking to anyone up here,” he said before joining Wendi Deng‘s table.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Gamco Investors Mario Gabelli, NBA commissioner David Stern, ICM’s Chris Silbermann and Page 1 Media’s Isaac Lee were spotted.

Earlier Google. co-founder Sergey Brin lauded the search engine deal they have with Yahoo, saying Yahoo was a “good company with good people,” but he deferred all other questions to Yahoo! chairman Jerry Yang, who is due into Sun Valley today.

Brin was also approached by Sony Corp.’s Katsumi Ihara who wanted to discuss TVs, but Ihara was thrown for a loop when he was told the screen Brin usually used was a Toshiba.

Also, the mystery continues. Just who is Ken Starr? The journos in Sun Valley were all convinced it was the former prosecutor who had a Jones about Bill Clinton. When confronted, this Starr denied any connection to that Starr, who is currently Dean of Pepperdine Law School. But he refused to disclose who or what Starr & Co. actually does.