Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Worst. Internet. CEO. Ever?

According to Silicon Valley Insider, that title is held by Terry Semel and was earned when sitting in the big chair at Yahoo! They give some robust arguments as to why, all of which are hard to rebut, especially so when viewed with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight (but then let's face it, most arguments are!)

Harsh? Perhaps, but when catalogued like that it does seem to be a remarkable string of missed opportunities and blown chances. Along the way they seem to have been offered gifts galore, including the right to buy Google for $3bn, the spurning of which is surely a gaff that is right up there with deciding to pass on being the 5th Beatle.

The next page in this saga will get written on 1st August when the shareholders meeting is set to take place. Documents came to light this week that show Yang tried to create a poison-pill defence that would have caused all outstanding options to immediately vest on acquisition - the so called "double trigger" - that would not only have added $1.5bn to the price but also meant that there would be zero incentive for any employee to hang around post close. Icahn is using this as clear evidence that there was never any "good faith" discussion around the Microsoft offer, further sharpening his case for the removal of the board.

You can't make up stuff this good.

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