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Yahoo: Who is new CEO Scott Thompson?

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010 file photo, PayPal president Scott Thompson speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Yahoo Inc., confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012, it has picked PayPal chief Scott Thompson as its next CEO. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File) (Paul Sakuma/AP)

Yahoo named a new chief executive Wednesday morning: Scott Thompson, most recently known as president of PayPal. Yahoo’s acting CEO, Tim Morse, will return to his former position as chief financial officer.

Thompson wasn’t on many analyst’s short lists for the position, which has been open since the September firing of Carol Bartz, probably because he doesn’t have much of a background in advertising or media.

What Thompson does have are deep technological chops honed at PayPal and Visa, as well as from his time as chief information officer at Barclays Global Investors. In a call Wednesday morning, the newly minted exec said that he will look to customer data to figure out Yahoo’s future path.

That path has been the subject of a lot of speculation as rumors about possible Yahoo acquisitions, mergers and other deals have gained traction in the tech community. CNET’s Jay Greene puts forward the thesis that Thompson’s appointment may ease the way to a deal with venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The firm has reportedly put in a bid for Yahoo along with the Silver Lake investment firm.

Thompson, as Greene points out, was hired to his old company by former PayPal executive Jeff Jordan. Jordan is now a partner at the influential firm.

As for his personality, the Wall Street Journal reported that Thompson is known for his “cordial personality and thick Boston accent” — quite different from Bartz’s blunt, brash personality.

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Carol Bartz lashes out at Yahoo board

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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