New Yahoo CEO sits out earnings call
Yahoo's new chief executive Marissa Mayer and Ross Levinsohn, the executive whom she replaced, both sat out the company's second quarter earnings call yesterday.
The once iconic internet company caught analysts, investors and industry watchers by surprise Monday when it announced that it had poached Ms Mayer from Google to be its next CEO. Many had assumed that after a stellar run as interim-CEO that Mr Levinsohn would be named to the position on a permanent basis simultaneous with its earnings announcement.
"Since this is Marissa's first day on the job she will not be joining us on the call. However, she is very mindful of the importance of the investor community and I'm sure that you'll be hearing from her soon," said Yahoo chief financial officer Tim Morse, who led the call solo for the company.
Ms Mayer's first day at Yahoo coincided with its reporting of flat net revenue and a slight decline in profit during the second quarter.
Shares of Yahoo were down 3 cents at $15.57 in after-hours trading yesterday.
Yahoo's revenue has "basically been flatlined for a while," said Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter.
"Flat is not where bulls want it to go, but it's not falling off a cliff either."
Some observers have speculated that the surprise hiring of Ms Mayer signals Yahoo's intention to renew its focus on web technology and products rather than beefing up online content.
Yahoo's Morse provided few details about the company's future strategy or plans, noting that the company's direction "does remain to be seen" in light of the new CEO.
Google's first female engineer, Ms Mayer helped develop Google Search and oversaw some of Google's key products, including Google News and Gmail during her 13-year tenure at the search company.
Some former colleagues who have worked with Ms Mayer noted that her "intense" personality can make her "rough around the edges" and difficult to deal with, but they also noted Ms Mayer's commitment to mentoring co-workers through a special program that she spearheaded at Google.
The 37-year-old, who has never been a CEO before, will face a formidable challenge in trying to revive Yahoo's fortunes.
Yahoo remains one of the world's most popular websites, with more than 700 million monthly visitors, according to the company. But the company has seen its revenue growth stall, amid an industry-wide decline in online display advertising prices and competition from Facebook and Google.
Visitors to Yahoo-branded websites increased 2 per cent year-on-year during the second quarter, Yahoo said. But queries on Yahoo's US core search websites declined 17 per cent during the second quarter, the number of minutes visitors spent on its media properties fell 10 per cent.
Yahoo's net revenue, which excludes fees paid to partner websites, was $1.081 billion in the three months ended June 30th, compared to $1.076 billion at this time last year.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for net revenue of $1.096 billion.
Ms Mayer's hiring caps a tumultuous year at Yahoo. In May, Scott Thompson resigned as CEO after less than six months on the job as a controversy flared up over his academic credentials.
Mr Thompson replaced the outspoken Carol Bartz, who was fired in September after failing to revitalise Yahoo.
Mr Morse said on the call that Yahoo wanted to give Ms Mayer "time to get acclimated" with the company before providing forward guidance for the remainder of the year.
Yahoo's second-quarter net income was $226.6 million, or 18 cents a share, down slightly from roughly $237 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year ago period.
Excluding certain items, Yahoo said it earned 27 cents a share, above the 22 cents a share expected by analysts.
Yahoo said its revenue from online display ads increased 2 per cent year-on-year to $535 million, while its search revenue decreased 1 per cent to $461 million.