Yahoo (YHOO) Thursday confirmed the appointment of two board members to fill the seats pledged in the settlement of their proxy fight with Carl Icahn. With front runner Jonathan Miller sidelined due to a non-compete agreement with his former employer, Yahoo named Frank Biondi and John Chapple to their board. Each of the new appointees will bring different credentials to the table. More on each:
Frank Biondi has been characterized as being a pragmatic and analytical executive. He was CEO of Viacom (NYSE:VIA) from 1987 to 1996 and Chairman of Universal Studios from April 1996 to November 1998. He holds a bachelors degree from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard.
Since 2002, he has been a director at Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN). Since 2005 he has been a director at Seagate. He also serves on the boards at Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), Harrah’s Entertainment (HET) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC).
Since 1999 he’s been the managing director of Waterview Advisors, LLC, a private equity and venture capital firm focused on the media and internet investments. The firms early investments included stakes in Atom Films (Bought in 2006 by Viacom’s MTV Networks for $200m), Creative Planet (renamed Movie Magic Technologies and sold for $179k in 2004), and Shopping.com. According to a 2006 report published by both the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, , the firm’s overall investment record was subpar. Waterview reportedly lost 61% of its investor’s money in six years. (Note: Not all investments were liquidated at the time of the IHT report so the values, and loss rate, may have changed). Among the misfortune: a $30.3m investment in German cable operator EKabel Hessen was written off and the $5.9m invested in Creative Planet was liquidated for $179k.
Biondi’s ties to Carl Icahn date back at least to 2005/2006 when Icahn was waging a proxy fight to unseat Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons. At the time, Biondi was brought into the fight by his brother Michael who, now deceased, was then head of Investment Banking at Lazard. Frank Biondi was expected to become the new CEO of Time Warner if the proxy fight was won.
In the Sprint/Nextel Partners deal two investment banks appraised Nextel Partners, Lazard and Morgan Stanley. In an interesting small world twist, fellow appointee Frank Biondi’s brother Michael was head of investment banking at Lazard at the time.
Chapple is currently head of Hawkeye Investments, a Private Equity firm focused on telecom and real estate.
Before forming Hawkeye, John was President, CEO and Chairman of Nextel Partners, a Nextel affiliate with about 1.9m subscribers. The company sold to Sprint in 2006 for $9.5b (including debt). From 1995 to 1997, he was President and CEO of Orca Bay sports, the owner and operator of Vancouver’s NBA and NHL teams.
Mr. Chapple currently sits on the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and is also a director at Cbeyond Communications Inc., Seamobile, and Telesphere. He’s also on the advisory board of Diamond Castle Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm based in New York City.
Chapple’s a graduate of Syracuse University and Harvard’s Advanced Management Program.