Sarin considers Yahoo option

They stressed Mr Sarin had made no decision on whether to join Yahoo, saying he was considering alternative roles at other US companies.

At least one possibility would involve the position of chairman rather than chief executive. He is also considering a position at a private equity firm.

A Yahoo official said on Tuesday that it was premature to speculate on Mr Yang's successor.

Mr Sarin stepped down as chief executive of UK-based Vodafone in July after five years in the top job.

He is credited with leading the company's expansion into emerging markets, notably through its $11bn deal last year to buy a controlling stake in Hutchison Essar, India's fourth-largest mobile operator.

Mr Sarin suffered a shareholder revolt at Vodafone in 2006, partly because of concerns about slowing growth at its core European operations. He subsequently improved relations with investors.

A person close to Yahoo said it was "still relatively early in the process" and the company was contacting potential candidates and had not made any offers.

The board held a meeting last Thursday to review progress in finding a CEO but did not prioritise a single candidate at that time, this person said.

Yahoo announced three weeks ago that its co-founder would step down as chief executive as soon as a replacement had been identified and appointed.

It said it had hired the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to seek out and vet candidates from both inside and outside the company.

Mr Sarin told the Financial Times in July that he was attracted by the prospect of returning home to California, where he has family and friends.

He was chief executive of Infospace, an internet content company similar to Yahoo from 2000 to 2001. He was also a board member of Cisco Systems at the same time as Mr Yang.

Any successor to Mr Yang would face the challenge of improving its performance relative to its bigger rival Google, which it has fallen far behind in internet search.

Microsoft has expressed interest in acquiring Yahoo's search business.

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