Yahoo has named eBay’s PayPal president Scott Thompson as its new chief executive, effective Jan. 9.

Thompson, who also has worked at Visa subsidiary Inovant and at Barclays Global Investors, was not on many analysts’ short lists to take over at Yahoo, which fired its former chief executive, Carol Bartz, in September.

The company has since been run by former chief financial officer Tim Morse.

In a statement, Yahoo’s board chairman Roy Bostock said, “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!”

Bostock pointed to Thompson’s knowledge of online business and said that “his team building and operational capabilities will restore the energy, focus, and momentum necessary to grow the core business and deliver increased value for our shareholders.”

Yahoo is in need of some revitalization. The company has seemed to flounder as its search business has lost steam to competitors such as Google and Bing. But the company has made a more concerted push to become a content creator in recent months. In October, the company announced a partnership with ABC News to co-run news Web sites through a partnership designed to reach 100 million Americans through computers and mobile devices.

Thompson said in a release that he will focus on learning more about the company’s products and building ties with the company’s team. “Clearly, speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness. I cannot wait to get started.”

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