May 29, 2020

PayPal Executive Named Chief of Yahoo

Mr. Thompson, analysts say, has a background mainly as a technologist instead of being an expert in digital media or corporate turnarounds. While PayPal, a division of eBay, is a consumer service, analysts said that is very different from a media company.

But in a conference call on Wednesday morning, Roy J. Bostock, the chairman of Yahoo’s board, said that at PayPal Mr. Thompson had proved he could take a company with solid assets and build the business. That is the central challenge at Yahoo, Mr. Bostock said, noting that the company has a wealth of strong media and advertising assets, and an online audience of more than 700 million visitors a month.

The problem, he said, was that Yahoo had been floundering — “treading water,” as he put it. “You can call it a turnaround, if you want to,” Mr. Bostock said.

Under Mr. Thompson, PayPal expanded its number of users to more than 104 million, from 50 million, and increased its revenue to more than $4 billion, from $1.8 billion. “That, to me, is a track record of building,” Mr. Bostock said.

Mr. Thompson said it was too soon to discuss any strategic shifts he might make. But he said Yahoo has to innovate and improve its offering for both consumers and advertisers. “That balancing is what we need at Yahoo,” Mr. Thompson said. “That is how big businesses with network effects are built on the Internet.”

The chief executive job at Yahoo, Mr. Thompson said, represents a daunting challenge, but also a major opportunity. “The core business assets are stronger than people believe at this point,” he said.

Mr. Thompson replaces Carol Bartz, who was dismissed in September. The company has been run by Tim Morse since Ms. Bartz left. He will now return to his former post as chief financial officer.

Yahoo shares were down 2.1 percent in early trading Wednesday.

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