Yahoo! installs temporary legal chief as general counsel Callahan quits

Yahoo! general counsel Mike Callahan has resigned after nearly 13 years at the company, leaving Ron Bell, deputy general counsel for products and the Americas, to fill the role on a temporary basis.

Mike Callahan
Mike Callahan

Callahan, who said in his resignation letter that he was leaving to pursue new opportunities, joined the company from US firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom in 1999, becoming general counsel in 2003 and executive vice-president in 2007.

Sources close to Callahan have said it not yet known where he is heading next, with US recruiters stating that it is unlikely that he will join a firm or go back to Skadden.

The departure comes weeks after Callahan advised the online giant on the departure of CEO Scott Thompson, who was dismissed just two months into the job after it was discovered that he had falsely claimed to hold a computer science degree. In his short time as CEO, Thompson made the decision to cut 14 per cent of Yahoo!’s workforce, laying off 2,000 employees in a bid to turn the business’s fortunes around.

It is not yet clear how the restructuring will affect Yahoo!’s legal department, which consisted of 130 lawyers worldwide and 10 in London at the time of writing.

Long-standing advisor Skadden acted as lead counsel to Yahoo! earlier this year on a $7.1bn (£4.5bn) deal that will see Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba buy back half of Yahoo!’s 40 per cent stake in the group (21 May 2012). Palo Alto partner Leif King led the firm’s team on the deal.

In an interview for The Lawyer Transatlantic Elite King said of Callahan: “Frankly, I’m not sure when he sleeps.”