CTO Zod Nazem's Departure: An Opportunity for Yahoo!

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Zod Nazem announced on Wednesday that he'll be leaving his post as head of one of Yahoo!'s (YHOO) three pillars (Technology Group) on June 8th - just prior to Yahoo!'s annual meeting.

Zod is a longtime Yahoo! - 11 years to be exact. Over the years, he's had his share of Valleywag critics, but insiders I've spoken to talk about the many strengths he brought to the organization. I wish him well in his new endeavors.

For Yahoo!, this creates some more management uncertainty -- which had started to be resolved with Blake Jorgensen's hiring a couple of weeks ago as CFO. Today, two of the 3 main groups for the company are without a leader. (We're still waiting on a head of the Audience Group, even though Jeff Weiner's been doing his best not to leave that group rudderless.) It also raises the question that if Terry Semel or Zod knew this was coming 6 months ago, why did Zod take on the key spot of leading the Technology Group to now leave it for Jerry Yang and David Filo to take care of? All investors are waiting for these distractions to be resolved and for the real team to assume their spots and take this company forward.

Yet, every crisis brings opportunity. In our view, the Technology group at Yahoo! has been underfunded and overlooked over the past 6 years. The neglect of Overture leading to the current "catch-up" frenzy with Panama is one example. The group deserves a strong new leader and some more resources to get the job done. Let's hope it takes less than 6 months to find that person. More drift is not what Yahoo! needs now.

Disclosure: Author has a long position in YHOO

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