After the pre-turkey "Peanut Butter" memo, speculation is swirling on who's in the running for Terry Semel's corner cube in Sunnyvale. Here are my odds on the front-runners:
1. Susan Decker: 3 - 2. Positives: Insider; well-respected by most Yahoo!s, well-liked by street. Question Marks: Technical enough?, too 'analysis paralysis'?, technical vision for company.
2. Dan Rosensweig: 4 - 1. Positives: Insider; technical enough background; COO tenure on the surface makes him first in line. Question Marks: Arrongant?, will the Yahoo!s trust/follow him?, too close to Semel?
3. Steve Berkowitz, SVP at Microsoft: 8 - 1. Positives: Knows search from Ask, MSN experience, relevant industry leadership experience with views of big and small companies, learned from Diller, Gates, Ballmer. Question Marks: Vision for company?, What are the big accomplishments he can point to on his resume.
4. Shona Brown, EVP BD, Google. 10 - 1. Positives: Rhodes Scholar, PhD, McKinseyite, Best-Selling Business Author before coming to Google -- i.e., bright!; Been studying/working in this industry for 12 years. Question Marks: Too junior for CEO slot; Why leave when Google's on a roll?
5. Joanne K. Bradford, new head of MSN: 15 - 1. Positives: Got online Ad religion before anyone else at MSFT, helped turn culture around at MSN, big company experience and ad experience, lives in Bay Area. Question Marks: Seasoned enough for top slot?, could use more time leading major team at MSN.
6. Jonathan Miller, ex-head of AOL: 45 - 1. Positives: Relevant CEO-type experience at Yahoo! competitor; can point to some content innovations and general turnaround of that group; fiercely loved by some ex-employees. Question Marks: Vision?; too slow; could he gain loyalty of Yahoo!s?
7. Jerry Yang, Chief Yahoo!: 50 - 1. Positives: 1 of the co-founders; well-respected; knows the culture; technical vision. Question Marks: Too junior? (37); Does he want it?; What leadership experience does he have to take on this role?
8. Jason Calacanis, ex-AOL: 185 - 1. Positives: Well-known among the Valleywag set; Small & large company experience at Weblogs and AOL. Question Marks: Too young; not ready for prime-time CEO.
9. Marissa Mayer, Google: 10,000 - 1. Positives: Well-known/respected by tech folks. Question Marks: Too junior; little leadership experience.
10. Brad Garlinghouse, Yahoo! VP: No Chance. No board would ever pick him after leaking the memo.