Yahoo Names Max Levchin Director as David Kenny and Brad Smith Exit Board

An Entrepreneur With a Product Focus

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Yahoo, the largest U.S. web portal, appointed Max Levchin to its board, as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer works to restore stability to management and reverse three years of declining revenue.

David Kenny and Brad Smith will step down from the board, effective immediately, leaving Yahoo with 11 directors, the company said in a statement today. Levchin is chairman of review site Yelp, a co-founder of EBay's PayPal unit and formerly vice president of engineering at Google.

As Yahoo's fifth CEO in four years, Mayer is trying give the company credibility after management changes and lost advertising revenue, as users migrated to Google and Facebook. Yahoo's share of display ads, including banners, will be 9.3% this year in the U.S., down from 11% last year, researcher EMarketer estimates.

"The transition on the Yahoo board has a lot to do with where Yahoo needs to focus," said Jordan Rohan, analyst at Stifel Nicolaus in New York. "Max is really smart. He has great mobile and app knowledge."

Levchin, who started PayPal more than a decade ago with Peter Thiel, has plenty of management experience. He's a serial entrepreneur and angel investor who sits on the boards of Kaggle and Evernote. Levchin said he got a glimpse of the "fantastic future" of the web during college in 1993, just as Yahoo was getting off the ground.

"Yahoo! showed me that computer geeks can start companies that create that future," Levchin said in a blog post. "I'd love to do my part in helping the company that inspired me."

Mayer said in the statement that she has admired Levchin "throughout my career for his phenomenal sense for great products and keen focus on user experiences."

"I'm confident that his strong product and technology expertise will be a tremendous asset to Yahoo!," Mayer said in the statement.

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