Yahoo’s CEO, Terry Semel, To Be Replaced By Jerry Yang

The Wall Street Journal reported that Terry Semel has stepped down as Yahoo’s CEO. The new CEO is Yahoo’s co-founder, Jerry Yang. With this change, Susan Decker, former executive vice president and head of Advertiser and Publisher Group, is now president.

Semel told the Wall Street Journal, "As we discussed my future goals and plans, I was clear in telling the Board of my desire to take a step back sooner rather than later." A statement from Semel is now up here, along with press release here; Yang has also blogged about taking over here. From Semel’s statement:

"I believe Jerry and Sue, with their superb talents and intense dedication to Yahoo! and its people, are the perfect combination to carry us forward," Semel said in a prepared statement. "This is the time for new executive leadership, with different skills and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realize its full potential — it is the right thing to do, and the right time is now."

Techmeme roundups are beginning to collect as well over here.

Postscript From Danny: Some highlights from further coverage. First, is Jerry just a fill-in? He says no. From the New York Times:

Several current and former employees said they expected Mr. Yang to spend only a limited amount of time as chief executive. If Ms. Decker is able to prove her management skills, she is likely to take the top job, they said.

Still, Mr. Yang, 38, said Monday, “I very much see the C.E.O. role as something I plan to do for a while.”

But bring in someone else? I have to say, this part of what News.com noted about Yang understanding Yahoo better than anyone resonated with me:

Yang is respected as Yahoo’s co-founder and therefore holds influence. For example, he is involved in every executive decision at Yahoo, insiders say. More importantly, in this case, Yang–whose title is "chief Yahoo"–is considered a passionate user of the network and dedicated to a creating a good user experience. He’s been responsible for numerous design overhauls on the Yahoo home page.

Yang’s passion for Yahoo, critics say, runs in stark contrast to Semel’s, who isn’t known to be an avid user of the site, nor of the Internet at large.

"You couldn’t get an outsider to understand the company better than Yang," said one executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He’s been the voice of the user for a long time."

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Yahoo: Employees

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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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