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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yahoo Said to Plan Board Shake-Up, Adding Levchin

Yahoo is poised to announce changes to its board, including the addition of Max Levchin, a former senior executive at PayPal, people briefed on the matter say.

The board is also expected to announce the departure of two directors: Brad Smith, the chief executive of Intuit, and David W. Kenny, chief executive of the Weather Channel.

The shake-up is expected to be announced within days, these people said. Yahoo did not respond to requests for comment.

Yahoo's latest board changes signal its continued push to become a top technology company once more, a strategy it began in July, when it hired Marissa Mayer away from Google to become its new chief executive.

Since taking over, Ms. Mayer has emphasized ways to modernize Yahoo staples like e-mail and the Flickr photo service, to help them contend with ever-newer competitors.

Bringing in Mr. Levchin is intended to help with that push and show a commitment to developing enticing new offerings. He served as PayPal's chief technology officer before forming Slide, a company that eventually helped produce Web applications for Facebook. Google bought Slide for about $180 million two years ago, and Mr. Levchin left the Internet giant when it shuttered Slide last year.

He will serve as the fourth director nominated by Daniel S. Loeb, the activist hedge fund manager who joined Yahoo's board in May after mounting a prominent challenge to the company's directors. Mr. Loeb's other directors, besides himself, are Michael J. Wolf, a media consultant, and Harry Wilson, a turnaround expert who served on the Obama administration's automotive task force.

Since joining Yahoo's board, Mr. Loeb has helped orchestrate a number of changes, including hiring Ms. Mayer.

Mr. Loeb was introduced to Mr. Levchin by Mr. Wolf, who had served on Slide's board of advisers. They met in Silicon Valley ahead of the proxy fight, when Mr. Loeb was recruiting candidates for Yahoo board seats.

One of the departing directors, Mr. Smith, was a main supervisor of Yahoo's turnaround efforts, including its talks with private equity firms about a capital infusion into the Web company.

The other, Mr. Kenny, became the Weather Channel's chief executive in January and was formerly the president of Akamai Technologies. Mr. Kenny had briefly considered campaigning for Yahoo's top spot last year.