Yahoo taps PayPal President Thompson as CEO

Scott Thompson will take over as Yahoo's new CEO on January 9, replacing Carol Bartz, who was fired in September

Yahoo's board has chosen as the company's CEO Scott Thompson, president of eBay's PayPal, ending a four-month search after Carol Bartz was fired in early September.

Tim Morse, Yahoo's interim CEO, will now go back full-time to his CFO role, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Thompson starts on Jan. 9, at which time he will also take a seat on the company's board.

Under Thompson's leadership, PayPal has in recent years become a stellar business for eBay, driving much of the company's revenue growth, as the core eBay e-marketplace has hit a plateau. With Thompson at the helm, PayPal, eBay's e-payment unit, saw its annual revenue grow from $1.8 billion to more than $4 billion.

"Scott brings to Yahoo a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo," said Roy Bostock, chairman of Yahoo's board, in the statement.

At Yahoo, Thompson will face a challenge that his three predecessors weren't able to solve: Getting Yahoo to recover its technology leadership in the consumer Internet services market and turning around the company's financial performance.

Bartz took over as CEO in early 2009 from Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang, who in turn had replaced Terry Semel in mid-2007.

After Bartz's firing, multiple rumors have emerged regarding the company's future, including the possibility that the board would sell it whole or in parts to reported suitors like AOL, Microsoft or Google, or that investors led by Yang could buy it and turn it into a privately held company.

(More to come.)

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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