New Yahoo CEO says company needs to "do better"

Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:41pm EST
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By Alexei Oreskovic

(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Scott Thompson said reviving the company's flagging display advertising business was his "highest priority," even as he crafts a broader plan to bring the struggling Internet company back to fighting form.

"There's no question that we need to do better," said Thompson on his first quarterly earnings since taking the reins earlier this month, as Yahoo reported another decline in sales and profit on Tuesday.

Analysts prodded Thompson for clues about his plans for Yahoo Inc, which fired former CEO Carol Bartz in September and last week saw co-founder Jerry Yang resign unexpectedly, but all they received were boilerplate comments about how the company needs to "do better" and "get innovative products that matter into the market."

The lack of details didn't damage Wall Street's assessment of Thompson's debut, with many analysts appearing willing to give the former PayPal President some breathing room to settle in and figure out a strategy.

"He seemed to be speaking with a greater sense of urgency to act than his predecessors have," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan.

Thompson, along with Chief Financial Officer Tim Morse, gave few hints about the progress of Yahoo's strategic review as well, dashing hopes that his arrival might hasten a transaction.

Morse said talks with Yahoo's Asian partners -- Alibaba and Softbank -- about a restructuring were continuing but beyond that provided little concrete detail on where things stand.

Thompson, who was only hired as CEO two weeks ago, added that the company's board has narrowed down its options to the ones that appear "most promising."   Continued...

<p>The Yahoo! Connected TV booth is shown during the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 7, 2011. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>