Yang Out as Yahoo's CEO
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|Yahoo's Jerry Yang|
In a statement released after the markets closed on Monday, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) said its board of directors has initiated a search for a new CEO to replace Yang.
The company said that it had retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help in the process, though it said that it would consider both internal and external candidates.
In the meantime, Yang will continue in his position as CEO until the company finds a replacement. At that time, he intends to continue his role as "Chief Yahoo" and as a member of the board, advising the company on longer-term initiatives, according to the statement.
"Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level," Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock said in the statement.
Yang assumed the role of CEO in June 2007 at the request of Yahoo's board, replacing Terry Semel.
Since then, it's been a rocky tenure highlighted primarily by two events: Yahoo's rejection of a buyout offer by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the eventual collapse of a joint search advertising deal with rival Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) that promised to bring the company hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
The Google deal, which would have seen the top two players in search joining forces, came under close government scrutiny. Despite efforts by the two companies to appease regulators' antitrust monopoly concerns, Google decided earlier this month to drop out of the deal.
But Bostock highlighted Yang's success in pushing for a turnaround at the company, in part through its recent embrace of initiatives like open search.
"Over the past year and a half, despite extraordinary challenges and distractions, Jerry Yang has led the repositioning of Yahoo! on an open platform model as well as the improved alignment of costs and revenues," Bostock said in the statement.
Yang, meanwhile, positioned the move as helping Yahoo at a critical time.
"From founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensable to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise," he said in the statement. "When the board asked me to become CEO and lead the transformation of the company, I did so because it was important to re-envision the business for a different era to drive more effective growth."
"Having set Yahoo! on a new, more open path, the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and our global talent to a new leader. I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo! realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation."