SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo! on Sunday announced the appointment of three independent board members as the struggling Internet firm moved to shake up its team and fend off a challenge from an activist hedge fund.
Named to the board effective April 5 were John Hayes, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of American Express; Peter Liguori, former chief operating officer of Discovery Communications and former chairman and president of entertainment of Fox Broadcasting Network; and Thomas McInerney, the outgoing chief financial officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp.
"Each of these individuals impressed the search committee with their demonstrable records of significant accomplishment at the highest levels of media, advertising and marketing, finance, including corporate finance and restructuring, and further insight into customers' perspectives," said Patti Hart, chairman of the nominating committee.
"Together, they bring a powerful mix of exactly the right ingredients to fuel Yahoo!'s forward momentum."
Yahoo! named Scott Thompson as its new chief executive in January and promised urgent action to turn the company around after a year of falling income and profits.
Thompson, named Yahoo! CEO only on January 4, said the web giant needed to move quickly to exploit its huge bank of user data to regain market share, especially in display ads where it has lost ground.
But the nominating committee rejected a push for a slate of nominees from hedge fund Third Point, which has taken a large stake in Yahoo, saying it chose the "best qualified" candidates.
A Yahoo! statement said the company had proposed accepting one of the Third Point candidates along with another candidate mutually acceptable to the board and the hedge fund.
But the statement said Third Point founder and chief executive Daniel Loeb "rejected this proposal and declined to end Third Point's solicitation with respect to its own four candidates unless he personally was appointed to the board."
The Yahoo! board said it "remains open to hearing Third Point's ideas and to working constructively with Third Point, but believes that appointing Mr. Loeb to the board is not in the best interest of the company and its shareholders."
After Thompson was recruited, Yahoo! co-founder and former chief executive Jerry Yang resigned from the board of directors. A few weeks later the chairman and three other directors said they would step down, opening the way for Thompson's agenda.
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