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It’s Not Just Marissa: Yahoo Has a History of Troubled CEOs

Image: A Yahoo logo is pictured in front of a building in Rolle

A Yahoo logo is pictured in front of a building in Rolle, Switzerland on Dec. 12, 2012. Denis Balibouse / Reuters, file

The job of Yahoo CEO might as well be cursed.

Marissa Mayer tried, but overall had a tough time revitalizing the internet company during her four-year tenure.

But Mayer isn't the first CEO to have difficulty steering the ship. Before she was appointed in 2012, the company went through a grand total of five CEOs in as many years.

"Yahoo's high CEO turnover is due to a few things, primarily a lack of perceived success in new markets, which means they get fired and replaced by the board," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told NBC News.

Yahoo CEO criticized for lavish party as company struggles 3:28

Here's a breakdown of Yahoo's C-suite legacy in all its glory:

Timothy Koogle, 1995-2001

Yahoo's first CEO tried to weather the storm after the dot com bubble burst. While Yahoo came out of it alive, the company's stock in 2001 was worth about one-tenth as much as the previous year. So, Koogle resigned and the board sent him packing.

Terry Semel, 2001-2007

Viewed as a known and trusted leader, this former Warner Bros. executive served a respectable six years as Yahoo's chief executive, from April 2001 until June 2007.

But, ultimately, some of his major plays that could have altered the course of the company fell flat: He reportedly tried to buy Google, the company that would one day crush Yahoo. He also supposedly made a bid for a couple of startups by the name of Facebook and YouTube, according to Wired, but those deals of course never materialized.

Jerry Yang, 2007-2008

The Yahoo co-founder was at the helm from June 2007 until November 2008, and is perhaps best remembered for — perhaps unwisely — rebuffing an acquisition offer from Microsoft.

Carol Bartz, 2009-2011

Bartz came with tech experience, having served as CEO of Autodesk. During her time on the job from January 2009 to September 2011, revenue for Yahoo's core business declined. The company's stock price also remained flat at a time when other NASDAQ stocks were surging.

Known as being particularly outspoken, Bartz was fired over the phone.

"I am very sad to tell you that I've just been fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward," she wrote in an email to employees.

Related: After the Mega-Hack, Why Haven't We Heard From CEO Marissa Mayer?

Tim Morse, 2012

Morse, who was Yahoo's CFO, served as interim CEO for four months before returning to his old job. When Mayer came along, she gave him his marching orders.

Scott Thompson, 2012

The hiring of Scott Thompson in January 2012 brought some vigor back to Yahoo's investors, who were eager to see what the former PayPal president could do.

Turns out, he didn't have much time. Thompson was fired in May after it was discovered he flubbed details about a college degree on his resume.

His short tenure came after interim CEO Tim Morse and was followed by yet another interim CEO.

Ross Levinsohn, 2012

The interim CEO, who had been leading Yahoo Americas, was widely seen as a possible contender for getting the top job full-time. When he was passed over for Mayer, Levinsohn left Yahoo.

Marissa Mayer, 2012-2016

Mayer, who was hired out of college as one of Google's first employees, later became the company's vice president of product and search until she was reassigned to lead Google's efforts on local, maps and location services.

Seen as a wunderkind of Silicon Valley, Mayer was still a surprise choice for Yahoo CEO. Her elevation to CEO made her perhaps the most prominent woman in Silicon Valley.

During her tenure, Mayer hasn't been afraid to spend big, but not all of her bets have paid off. One of her biggest purchases was three years ago, buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion.

If the Verizon deal goes through, it's unclear if Mayer will stay on with the company.