Yahoo has reportedly hired an executive search firm to find possible replacements for several members of its much-criticized board of directors.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Web giant has hired Heidrick & Struggles to help it identify "several new board candidates" who could replace long-term directors that have served on Yahoo's board. The board has faced biting criticism in recent years for rejecting a lucrative takeover bid from Microsoft in 2008, as well as for its hiring--and then its ham-handed firing--of former chief executive Carol Bartz.
The Journal reported that board member Patti Hart is leading the search. She also led the search for a chief executive, which led to the company hiring eBay executive Scott Thompson on Wednesday for the top job at Yahoo.
Yahoo spokeswoman Dana Lengkeek declined to discuss the report, saying the company doesn't "comment on rumor or speculation."
The move could be an effort to get ahead of shareholder dissent. In November, Daniel Loeb, manager of hedge fund Third Point, which holds a 5.1 percent stake in Yahoo, called for the resignation of several directors. He singled out Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, citing his "ineptitude in dealing with the Microsoft negotiations to purchase the company in 2008" in a letter to the board.
All nine of Yahoo's directors are up for election at the company's annual meeting this year. The company hasn't scheduled the meeting, but shareholders can begin nominating directors to the board starting Feb. 24 unless Yahoo alters the schedule.