Jerry Yang Stepping Down As CEO; Resuming Chief Yahoo Role

Yahoo has announced that Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s founder and current CEO, will be stepping down from the CEO role after Yahoo finds a successor. Jerry will resume his former role of Chief Yahoo when the new CEO comes in.

All Things Digital has posted the email Jerry sent out to the company; I will include the email below. Several board members have been verbal about removing Yang from the CEO position after he replaced Terry Semel as Yahoo’s CEO in June 2007.

Jerry Yang will be working with Chairman Roy Bostock and with the independent directors to find a successor for the CEO role. The company will look both externally and internally for a replacement, with the help of executive hiring firm, Heidrick & Struggles.

Jerry Yang has been struggling to get the company back on track and has been ridiculed for his handling of the Microsoft buyout and their most recent failure in the Yahoo/Google deal. For a look at the past year and a half, see our Yahoo Business category.

To: all yahoos Fr: Jerry Subject: update

yahoos -

i wanted to address all of you on the news we’ve just announced. the board of directors and I have agreed to initiate a succession process for the ceo role of yahoo!. roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.

i will be participating in the search for my successor, and i will continue as ceo until the board selects a new ceo. once a successor is named, i will return to my previous role as chief yahoo and continue to serve as a director on the board.

last june, i accepted the board’s request that i assume the ceo role to restructure and reposition the company as a whole in order to more effectively meet the fast-changing needs of both users and partners. since taking on the ceo role, i have had an ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing. thanks in large measure to your tireless efforts, we have created a more open, competitive yahoo! and we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level.

despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.

all of you know that I have always, and will always bleed purple. i will always do what I think is right for this great company. while this step will be an adjustment for all of us, i know it’s the right one. i look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything i can to make yahoo! fulfill its full potential.

thank you, jerry

Postscript from Greg: On some level, it must be a relief for Jerry Yang to think about handing off the burden of being CEO. The question is: Will Yahoo pick someone who is going to immediately attempt to restart Microsoft acquisition talks, or will the board find someone capable of leading the company over the medium term, on its current, independent course. If it’s the latter, Yahoo needs a dynamic leader who not only possesses vision — or who can carry on the current vision — but who also can regain the confidence of both employees and the financial community.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Top News | Yahoo: Business Issues

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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