Board Games at Yahoo!

You won't have to wait until July to play musical chairs with the members of Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) board.

Ed Kozel, who has been a board member since 2000, is stepping down.

Kozel, who cut his teeth at Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) for a spell as the networking giant's chief technology officer and founded its business development group, revealed that he was originally planning to resign in February. He then decided to ride things out for a few more months once the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) overtures began rocking the boardroom.

Instead of replacing Kozel, Yahoo! will simply shrink the size of the board from 10 members to nine.

The move won't stop Carl Icahn's proxy battle to replace the entire board. Icahn wants Yahoo! to reopen talks with Microsoft, even if Microsoft has made it clear that it does not intend to buy Yahoo!, for now.

"I could be wrong, but Kozel seems like the real sleeper on the board, with a background in technology as well as finance," Marketwatch's John Dvorak wrote last week in handicapping Yahoo!'s boardroom. "He's probably underappreciated."

Score one for Dvorak. He called the company's board "mediocre" before Kozel bolted, so one can only imagine how the board is holding up with one of its few tech minds leaving.

Yahoo!'s annual shareholder meeting will still take place this summer, only now it will probably happen in late July.

It's going to be a good one, at least in terms of fireworks. Both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Microsoft are tugging at Yahoo!'s sleeve for its search business. Yahoo! has also put up some lofty growth projections for 2009 and 2010, which may have been done to deflect from the company's recent sluggish performance. Shareholders aren't going to let the company get away with misdirection that easily.

Now one has to wonder how many board members will still be around to face the music this summer.

And then there were nine.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Yahoo! and Microsoft but not of bad weddings. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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