Yahoo Left Weighing Levinsohn for CEO Job as Hulu’s Kilar Exits

Hulu LLC CEO Kilar
Jason Kilar, chief executive officer of Hulu LLC. Photographer: Kimimasa Mayama/Bloomberg

Yahoo! Inc.’s list of possible chief executive officer candidates narrowed after Hulu LLC Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar said he doesn’t want the job.

“As has been reported, Jason Kilar has been a focus of the Yahoo CEO search committee,” Hulu said in a statement. “He has graciously declined to be considered.”

Kilar’s decision puts the emphasis on Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s interim CEO, who, according to people with knowledge of the matter, is also in contention for the CEO role.

Yahoo seeks a CEO who can revive growth and quell the management upheaval that has put five executives at the helm since 2009. Scott Thompson exited in May after failing to correct an error in his academic credentials. He followed Tim Morse, who became interim CEO last year after the company fired its previous CEO, Carol Bartz, amid customer and market-share losses to rivals including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

Bartz was named CEO in January 2009, succeeding co-Founder Jerry Yang.

Kilar, a former executive at Inc., became CEO of Hulu in early 2008. On his watch, the online TV service owned by Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, Comcast Corp.’s NBC and News Corp.’s Fox grew to more than 2 million paid subscribers.

Levinsohn, who became interim CEO in May, has already overseen management changes. Last month, the company named Google’s Michael Barrett as chief revenue officer, who is slated to join Yahoo this month. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. agreed in May to repurchase about a 20 percent stake in itself from Yahoo for about $7.1 billion.

After Levinsohn was named interim CEO, Fred Amoroso, board chairman, said in a meeting with employees that he would like to see Levinsohn become permanent CEO, according to a person who was briefed on the matter.

Charles Sipkins, a spokesman for the board, which is conducting the search, declined to comment on the matter.

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, fell less than 1 percent to $15.76 at 2:52 p.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the shares had lost 1.7 percent this year.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE