Yahoo's board has chosen as the company's CEO Scott Thompson, president of eBay's PayPal, ending a four-month search after Carol Bartz was fired in early September.
Tim Morse, Yahoo's interim CEO, will now go back full-time to his CFO role, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Thompson starts on Jan. 9, at which time he will also take a seat on the company's board.
Under Thompson's leadership, PayPal has in recent years become a stellar business for eBay, driving much of the company's revenue growth, as the core eBay e-marketplace has hit a plateau. With Thompson at the helm, PayPal, eBay's e-payment unit, saw its annual revenue grow from $1.8 billion to more than $4 billion.
"Scott brings to Yahoo a proven record of building on a solid foundation of existing assets and resources to reignite innovation and drive growth, precisely the formula we need at Yahoo," said Roy Bostock, chairman of Yahoo's board, in the statement.
At Yahoo, Thompson will face a challenge that his three predecessors weren't able to solve: Getting Yahoo to recover its technology leadership in the consumer Internet services market and turning around the company's financial performance.
"I fundamentally believe that Yahoo's future depends on its ability to create great products and integrated, compelling customer experiences. How we do that will be a function of delivering both excellent technology and content, not one or the other," Thompson said during a conference call with media and analysts to discuss his appointment.
Thompson may have been echoing one of the criticisms of his predecessor -- that while she was focused on organizational efficiency and on site content, she didn't pay as much attention to technology. During her tenure, Yahoo was criticized for failing to deliver innovative products, instead often opting to belatedly latch on to hot trends established by others, such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google.
Chief among his goals, Thompson said, is to "deliver Yahoo's next era of [financial] growth and return the company to a path of industry-leading innovation."
Yahoo's Board Chairman Roy Bostock said that Thompson proved at PayPal that he knows how to create "great" customer experiences, which is key for success in online advertising, Yahoo's core business.
Yahoo has in the past "treaded water," Bostock said, adding that what the company needs now is "to build on its very strong assets" and "start swimming at a very fast clip."
"Scott knows how to do that; he has done that," Bostock said.
When asked for his plans, Thompson repeatedly said that it's too early for him to provide specific details, but that he is confident that Yahoo has the talent, assets and brand to return to being "at the forefront of innovation," developing disruptive technology, and to jump-start its financial performance.
Industry analyst Greg Sterling from Sterling Market Intelligence said Thompson's appointment suggests a desire by the Yahoo board to renew the company's emphasis on technology and products, "which was lacking under previous CEO Carol Bartz."
At PayPal, Thompson led a business that focused mostly on one thing -- processing payments -- while at Yahoo he will be in charge of "a multi-headed animal" whose business is much more varied, Sterling said.