Yahoo revamps board of directors

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer arrives at the White House on Nov. 28, 2012, in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(MoneyWatch) Yahoo (YHOO) is shaking up its board of directors, a sign that recently hired CEO Marissa Mayer wants to strengthen management as she seeks to revitalize the ailing Internet company.

Yahoo said Thursday that two boardmembers, Weather Channel CEO David Kenny and Intuit CEO Brad Smith, are leaving and that it will add PayPay co-founder Max Levchin to the panel. That reduces the total number of directors to 11, 10 of whom have joined the company this year.  

"Max is someone I've admired throughout my career for his phenomenal sense for great products and keen focus on user experiences," Mayer said in a statement. "I'm confident that his strong product and technology expertise will be a tremendous asset to Yahoo as we work to transform the world's daily habits."

Yet while Levchin will bring Yahoo considerable expertise in online payments, the board reshuffle does not directly address the company's main challenge: Finding its focus amid intense competition from Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and other Internet industry behemoths.

By now, Yahoo has made an almost complete sweep of its boardroom, paving the way for what could be fundamental change. Whether the company can re-invent itself remains to be seen. Unlike Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which has endured a string of scandals in recent years, Yahoo has suffered chiefly from years of relatively flat performance and the steady loss of market share to competitors.

A major reason -- and a recurring sore point during the reign of former CEO Carol Bartz -- has been Yahoo's inability to define its business in a way that makes sense for investors and customers.

Changing Yahoo's governance is an important step, but it will pay off only if Mayer can forge a winning new strategy. So far, her moves have been to replicate parts of the culture at her previous employer, Google (GOOG). With investors eager to see results, defining a Yahoo that makes sense to the rest of the world will be considerably harder.

  • Erik Sherman On Twitter»

    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.

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