If Jeff Weiner, head of Yahoo's search, community, and media properties, leaves the company, who's left to run things? An outside hire seems unlikely, Michael Arrington points out, given Carl Icahn's fight with the Yahoo board. That leaves a battlefield promotion for one of Weiner's direct reports, shown here from left to right: Brad Garlinghouse, Scott Moore, Vish Makhijani, and Tapan Bhat. Here's our handicapping of this horserace:
Brad Garlinghouse: The obvious candidate; a former CEO, Garlinghouse wrote a controversial "Peanut Butter" memo calling for Yahoo to focus on fewer products and do them well, a strategy Yahoo has followed. He currently oversees communications properties like Yahoo Mail and Messenger, which are shaping up as the centerpieces of Yahoo's attempt to catch up with Facebook and turn its user base into a social network. The odds-on favorite to succeed Weiner.
Scott Moore: The head of Yahoo's Media Group, overseeing properties including news, finance, sports, celebrity portal OMG and women's site Shine. Not in the running, we think: He was only recently promoted, and he likes living in the L.A. area, where the Media Group is based.
Vish Makhijani: Runs Yahoo Search. No chance; given the performance of Yahoo in the search market, it's not clear why he has his current job, let alone why Jerry Yang would give him a new one.
Tapan Bhat: Runs the Yahoo.com homepage and My Yahoo, among other "front doors." Bhat keeps a low profile, but he recently launched Yahoo Buzz, a Digg competitor which has been well received. The most likely scenario for Bhat: Garlinghouse gets promoted, but Bhat gets handed his communications and community portfolio. We'd like to see what Bhat does with sites like Flickr, whose product development has stagnated. (How long did it take to launch video on Flickr?)
Your thoughts on these Yahoo executives in the comments, and your tips in our inbox, are welcome.