Yahoo replaces CFO as CEO draws up turnaround plan

Associated Press Modified: September 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm •  Published: September 25, 2012

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is casting aside a cost-cutting specialist and bringing in software industry veteran Ken Goldman to be chief financial officer as the Internet company's management orchestrates a potentially expensive turnaround attempt.

The departure of CFO Tim Morse, announced Tuesday, isn't a shock. After joining a company, new CEOs often reshuffle senior executives while trying to assemble a management team that's better suited for a shift in direction.

But it usually takes six to nine months before an incoming CEO hires a new chief financial officer, said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis.

Mayer is replacing Morse just two months after Yahoo lured her away from Google Inc., suggesting that there may have been some friction between the two, Gillis said.

Morse, 43, will leave the company next month to make way for Goldman, who take over as CFO on Oct. 22. Yahoo didn't immediately disclose whether Morse will receive a severance package or reveal how much it is paying Goldman to leave his current job as CFO of Fortinet Inc., a maker of computer security software.

Since joining Yahoo in June 2009, Morse has spent much of his time pruning costs — an endeavor that enabled the company to boost its profits even as its revenue has been drooping.

Although she hasn't yet shared her vision publicly, Mayer is believed to be focusing on steps designed to delight Yahoo's audience of 700 million worldwide users but not necessarily investors. As part of that process, Yahoo could pour more money into some products and remove some of the ads that clutter its Web pages to the exasperation of some users. She is sharing more of her vision with Yahoo employees in a series of meetings beginning this week.

"I think we can kiss (Yahoo's) increasing (profit) margins goodbye for a while," Gillis said.

Yahoo has declined to discuss Mayer's plans. The company says she will talk more extensively next month when the company reports its third-quarter results. A specific date for the earnings release hasn't been set.

The company's stock added 8 cents to $15.76 in Tuesday's extended trading after the CFO change was announced. Yahoo shares have been hovering between $15 and $16 through most of Mayer's brief tenure, reflecting Wall Street's uncertainty about what direction she intends to push the company.