, does retirement have two phases?
No, says Yahoo!'s Tim Koogle, who last week
disclosed he was giving up his post as chief executive but insists he will remain on as nonexecutive chairman.
But one can't help wondering whether Koogle will wander, given Wednesday's announcement that Yahoo!'s longtime sales and marketing chief, Anil Singh, is retiring from the stock-battered Internet company.
Yahoo!'s shares fell 5% to $15.25 Wednesday, establishing a new 52-week closing low.
The process of sorting out what Singh's retirement means for Yahoo!, if anything, illustrates the tough times facing the Internet bellwether these days. Pundits say the stock, laboring under a 52-week high of more than $205, won't turn around until some positive news starts coming out of the company. But it's hard to put a positive spin on the news flow.
Start with Singh's announcement that he's retiring to spend more time with his family and to pursue personal interests. Nothing wrong with that; I'm sure a lot of people might be tempted to retire after spending five years helping to build Yahoo! from a college goof to a business valued in the billions.
But one can't help noticing parallels between Singh and Koogle. In early December, Yahoo! disclosed Singh was giving up his ad-chief post but would stay on in some sort of strategic capacity. Three months later, he announces he's stepping down completely. Now Koogle says he's stepping back from his day-to-day responsibilities. What will he be announcing in three months?
Nothing, according to what Koogle said on a conference call with analysts last week. Saying he would remain "an active and dedicated chairman," Koogle said, "I am decidated to this business. You know me. You know that's true."
So as hard as it is not to imagine Koogle in a pattern set by Singh and
several other top executives over the past year, try not to. Try to think about the new hires Yahoo! has made in recent weeks, including, according to a press release: a senior vice president of the company's media unit, senior vice president of major initiatives, a general manager of Yahoo!'s direct marketing business in North America, a vice president of sales for its Business and Enterprise Services organization and a new managing director for Yahoo! Canada.
And try not to think about the downgrades and estimate cuts that Wall Street has inflicted on the company in recent days, such as the
sell rating from Scott Reamer of
Instead, try to think about how much better the news can get.