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Yahoo chairman, 3 directors quit

© Brendan McDermid / Reuters/REUTERS

Yahoo Inc. chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors will step down as the struggling company plows ahead with an internal overhaul, including discussions on dealing with its stakes in China's Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.

The corporation – once a Web powerhouse but now agonizing over a range of options to revive flagging growth – on Tuesday said it appointed former Rovi Corp. chief executive officer and IBM veteran Alfred Amoroso and ex-eBay chief operating officer Maynard Webb as independent directors.

Yahoo's board has come under fire from investors impatient with the company's persistent inability to effect a turnaround, and frustrated with the apparent indecisiveness of stakeholders over how to handle its investments in Alibaba and other prized Asian assets.

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Mr. Bostock and fellow board members Vyomesh Joshi, Gary Wilson and Arthur Kern will not stand for re-election at the next shareholders' meeting, the chairman said in a letter to shareholders released on Tuesday.

"We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the committee to be attractive to our shareholders," Mr. Bostock said.

"We are also in active discussions with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. The complexity and unique nature of these transactions is significant."

Mr. Bostock will leave soon after the surprise departure of co-founder Jerry Yang, blamed for turning down a rich acquisition offer by Microsoft Corp. near the height of Yahoo's valuation. It comes shortly after the appointment of former PayPal president Scott Thompson to the CEO post, replacing the fired Carol Bartz.

Mr. Thompson, credited with driving growth at eBay's online payments division PayPal, joins Yahoo during a period of turmoil, as the company plows ahead with a strategic review in which discussions have included the possibility of being sold, taken private or broken up.

Many investors hope Yahoo will sell or spin off its Asian assets, with some speculating that Mr. Thompson may focus on developing Yahoo's core online media business.

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