Yahoo Names Ken Goldman CFO

New CEO Marissa Mayer replaces finance chief Morse.

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer hired Ken Goldman to succeed Tim Morse as chief financial officer, making her biggest management change yet after taking the reins of the struggling Web portal.

Goldman was previously chief financial officer at Fortinet Inc., a provider of computer-network security. His appointment is effective Oct. 22, while Morse, who joined in 2009, is leaving later this year, Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo said in a statement yesterday.

Mayer, who joined in July, is realigning leadership in her drive to reverse three years of declining revenue and market share losses to Facebook Inc. and her former employer, Google Inc. She may seek to impose fiscal discipline by hiring Goldman, who has helped cut costs and improve oversight at Silicon Valley companies over the past three decades, said Erik Suppiger, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC in San Francisco.

“He was brought into Fortinet a few years ago to improve on the company’s controls,” Suppiger said in an interview. “Investors have a relatively high regard for him.”

Yahoo said in August that Mayer would embark on a review of the business, including its growth and acquisition strategy, its cash position and capital allocation plans. A plan to cut about 2,000 jobs and reorganize the company, disclosed in April under then-CEO Scott Thompson, is also up for review.

 

Cost Cutting

Goldman was known for trimming expenses at Siebel Systems, where he worked as CFO for six years prior to joining Fortinet, said Howie Shohet, an executive who reported to Goldman while at the customer management software maker.

“He was very operationally inclined, very effective at cost saving,” said Shohet, who is now chief financial officer at San Mateo, California-based Lattice Engines. Goldman focused on “streamlining and rationalizing” the investments Siebel was making, Shohet said yesterday.

At Siebel, which was acquired in 2006 by Oracle Corp., Goldman and other executives came under the scrutiny of the Securities & Exchange Commission, which said he selectively disclosed market-moving information. The company paid a $250,000 fine in 2002 to settle accusations, without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

Goldman has worked at several other tech companies that have been acquired, including Sybase, which was bought by SAP AG; @Home Network, purchased by Excite; and VLSI Technology, bought by Royal Philips Electronics NV.

Before luring Goldman from Fortinet, Mayer brought in entrepreneur and former American Eagle Outfitters Inc. executive Kathy Savitt last month as chief marketing officer.

Mayer plans to discuss her turnaround strategy on a call with analysts next month, Anne Espiritu, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

“We will have more to share about our approach to building Yahoo’s future at our next earning’s call, which is in mid- October,” Espiritu wrote.

Yahoo fell 2 percent to $15.68 at the close in New York yesterday. The shares have dropped 2.8 percent this year, compared with the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 20 percent gain.

 

 

An article in the New York Times argues that Goldman’s appointment suggests Yahoo is preparing for acquisitions, and Reuters reports Goldman could earn up to $18 million over the next four years.

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