As Yahoo prepares to join Verizon, it has revealed an update pertaining to its Altaba spin-off that will oversee the company’s holdings in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba. When the acquisition deal closes later this year, Altaba will be run by Thomas McInerney, the former chief financial officer at IAC, which may shed more light on Marissa Mayer’s future with the company.
Joining McInerney at Altaba are current Yahoo’ers Alexi Wellman, who will be global controller, and DeAnn Fairfield Work, who is joining as chief compliance officer.
Altaba was created in January to be an investment company. While Verizon purchased Yahoo, it was only for the core assets, which left other financial properties out, so Altaba was formed to figure out what to do with those. It’s a successor to Aabaco, which was created by Yahoo’s board in 2015 but ultimately stalled after the company decided to do a “reverse spin-off” instead.
Having a CFO at the helm of this fledgling company overseeing investment decisions could be advantageous, especially since he’s someone with experience of Yahoo’s organization — McInerney has been on the board since 2012. For seven years, he’s been a CFO at IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is essentially a holding company with over 150 brands worldwide. Prior to that, he was a chief executive for IAC’s retailing division and also worked at Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch as CFO. It could be that Yahoo’s board felt that this expertise in being able to manage multiple businesses within one entity was very appealing.
As for Verizon’s piece of Yahoo, it’s unclear who will be leading that company, whether it’s Mayer herself or another candidate — perhaps AOL’s Tim Armstrong? Mayer has previously said publicly: “For me personally, I’m planning to stay. I love Yahoo, and I believe in all of you. It’s important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter.”
Her prospects for being the person in charge of Verizon’s Yahoo may have dimmed as well, especially after the headaches caused throughout the acquisition process when multiple large-scale cyber attacks and data leaks were revealed. Instead of a $4.8 billion deal, Verizon received a $350 million discount as compensation. Mayer acknowledged her role, and the board refused to award the CEO her 2016 and 2017 bonuses. Should she depart, it’s said that she’ll get $23 million in severance.
However, the first casualty of all of this has been general counsel and secretary Ronald Bell, who appears to be the only high-level person to have lost his job as a result. A couple of weeks later, Yahoo replaced Bell, announcing today that it has hired outside legal advisor Arthur Chong.