Digital Media Veteran Joins Legacy Internet Player Purchased by Apollo Global Management
Yahoo Inc. said it has appointed Jim Lanzone as the new chief executive, turning to a digital media veteran to jumpstart growth and explore strategic opportunities for the former internet player.
Mr. Lanzone, who joined Yahoo after serving as CEO of dating app Tinder, has worked in digital media for 23 years. He was previously Managing Director of CBS Interactive, where he launched the CBS All Access streaming service, the precursor to ViacomCBS Inc’s Paramount + service.
As the head of Tinder for just over a year, he redesigned the design of its products, adding features like an exploration section that allows users to find matches based on their interests.
When he joins Yahoo on September 27, Lanzone will take the reins of a company that once rivaled Alphabet Inc.’s Google for being the world’s leading Internet portal. But Yahoo has seen its dominance wane over the years, as it changed hands and suffered several strategic pivots.
Yahoo’s properties and services are still popular with users. The company has around 900 million monthly active users through its various outlets, from Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports to AOL, making it a heavyweight in the digital advertising space.
Private equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc. agreed earlier this year to buy Yahoo for around $ 5 billion from Verizon Communications Inc. Guru Gowrappan, the former Verizon executive who has overseen Yahoo since 2018 and continued to lead the business after the deal, will become a senior advisor to Apollo’s private equity business.
Yahoo was previously headed by Marissa Mayer, the former Google executive who took over as CEO in 2012. Ms. Mayer’s tenure has been marked by low employee morale, high executive turnover and declining revenues. advertising. She helped secure a deal to sell Yahoo’s web assets to Verizon in 2017.
Yahoo was then overseen by Tim Armstrong, the former CEO of AOL who advocated for Verizon’s takeover of the internet giant. Mr. Armstrong orchestrated an ambitious, short-lived plan to turn the properties into a digital advertising colossus that could rival tech giants like Google and Facebook Inc. under the new name Oath. Those efforts failed and Mr. Armstrong left the company in 2018.
Mr. Lanzone sees major opportunities for the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. He plans to develop key divisions that are already popular with users, including Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, and the company’s advertising technology products. He could possibly consider turning those divisions into stand-alone companies or going public as a whole, the person said.
Mr. Lanzone believes that many assets within Yahoo’s portfolio are positioned to benefit from trends driving growth in the industry, the person said. Yahoo Sports could capitalize on the sports betting craze spurred by the wave of legalization across the United States Yahoo Finance could capitalize on the growing popularity of online commerce by individual investors and the rise of cryptocurrency. Mr. Lanzone is also considering mergers and acquisitions to fuel the growth of Yahoo’s most popular products.
Mr. Lanzone’s immediate priorities will include a review of user data to better understand the company’s audience and identify growth opportunities within Yahoo’s portfolio, the person said. It will also focus on improving the design, performance and functionality of Yahoo products to make them more attractive to users.
Tinder announced on Friday that Mr. Lanzone would be replaced by Renate Nyborg, managing director of its operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
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