It's official: Yahoo appoints PayPal chief Scott Thompson as chief executive

It's official: Yahoo appoints PayPal chief Scott Thompson as chief executive

Summary: After initial speculation, Yahoo has named Scott Thompson as the company's next chief executive.

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Yahoo has appointed Scott Thompson as its chief executive officer, effective January 9th.

Thompson, formerly president of PayPal, the global payment system owned by eBay, will replace interim chief executive Tim Morse. Thompson will also be added to the Yahoo board.

Morse was previously chief financial officer of Yahoo before Carol Bartz was fired by the board in September 2010. Morse will now return to his previous role.

It was thought that Thompson would become the next chief executive of the Internet search and portal company after yesterday's reports.

Thompson will work closely with the Yahoo board on a strategic review process to see whether the company will be sold. Thompson's appointment sends a relatively clear message that the company is preparing to stick around for some time yet.

Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock said the company continues to consider a "wide range of opportunities" for its business, including "specific investments or dispositions of assets".

It's been a trying time for the company, once the centrepiece of the web, with tens of millions flocking to its services on a daily basis. But the letting go of Carol Bartz in September left the company in turmoil. It was unclear whether the company would be sold to the highest bidder.

The new chief executive will need to focus on not only bringing more visitors to the main portal site, but attract crucial advertising investors. Yahoo's share of Internet advertisements has been in decline.

The next question is who will replace Thompson at PayPal? The payments company grew its user base by over 105 percent from 50 million to 104 million active users across 190 countries in just over three years.

Yahoo was down 0.5 percent this morning to $16.20 a share. PayPal's owner eBay is currently down 3.9 percent to $30.12.

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