A few possible names are percolating to the surface of Microsoft's opposition slate as the software giant gears up for a potential proxy fight with Yahoo over its mega-billions buyout bid.
John Chapple, former Nextel Partners chief executive who now operates investment firm Hawkeye Investments in Washington state; Edward Meyer, former CEO of advertising powerhouse Grey Global Group; and Jaynie Studenmund, former chief operating officer of Yahoo-acquired Overture Services and former board member of Microsoft-acquired Aquantive, are some of the names mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article Wednesday and a previous TechCrunch post from mid-March.
Ironically, Studenmund may be one busy gal on the proxy front. She not only is reportedly a contender for Microsoft's opposition slate, but is currently on the opposition slate for the Jana Group, which is running a slate against CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.
Studenmund, when contacted by News.com Tuesday, declined to discuss her Microsoft gig and referred calls back to the software giant. She did confirm, however, that she worked at First Interstate Bank of California during the time it too faced a hostile bid from cross-town rival Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo ultimately succeeded in acquiring First Interstate in what later became a "friendly deal."
Chapple and Meyer, meanwhile, did not return phone calls.
In addition to the names mentioned above, the Journal listed Vanessa Wittman, former Adelphia Communications chief financial officer, as a contender for the Microsoft dissident board of 10 members and 3 alternatives. TechCrunch lists Tom Freston, former Viacom president.
Should Microsoft ultimately run an opposition slate against Yahoo's board of directors, don't expect only a cadre of big brand-name executives, a source familiar with the efforts told News.com in March.
The source noted at the time that the software giant already had its slate set and it was comprised of a "pool of candidates spanning from seasoned executives from brand-name companies to folks with a financial background."
Now, the only question that remains is whether this group will get the call.