Toodle-oo, Yahoo: ‘Chief’ Yang Legs It

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‘Chief Yang’ has left the building. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang has resigned from its Board and all other positions including title of “Chief Yahoo”, as well as Boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holding Limited, its Asian subsidiaries.

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Yang pictured at Web 2.0 summit in 2008.

The resignation is effective today, the internet giant said.

“My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life,” Yang said in a statement.

He said he wanted to “to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!” and endorsed the new CEO Scott Thompson, who formally took over from Carol Bartz, last week.

However, he has cut all ties with his creation, suggesting he may well be fed up with the direction his company has taken. Bartz was famously fired by phone last year.

Yang founded the former star child of the Internet 17 years ago with David Filo, pre-Google, which has taken a bad turn in recent years.

In December, the search engine held just 14.5% marketshare, a drop of 0.6%, compared to Google’s 66%, according to comScore.

“As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future,” Yang added.
 
He was CEO from June 2007 to January 2009 and famously refused Microsoft’s takeover offer of $33 per share in 2008. After this refusal, shares slumped and has failed to reignite the search market since.

“Chief Yahoo” also served as a member of the Board of Directors since March ’95.

The shock depature may have had something to do with shareholder criticism Yang was subject to, accused of pursuing his own personal vision for the company he helped found, rather than broader interests.

“The perception among shareholders was Jerry was more focused on trying to rebuild Yahoo than necessarily on maximizing near-term shareholder value,” Macquarie analyst, Ben Schacter, said.

“Everyone is going to assume this means a deal is more likely with the Asiacounterparts.”

His Yahoo colleagues were out en force to pay tribute to its co-founder.

“Jerry Yang is a visionary and a pioneer, who has contributed enormously to Yahoo! during his many years of service,” said Roy Bostock, Yahoo Chairman.”

 

“It has been a pleasure to work with Jerry. His unique strategic insights have been invaluable. He has always remained focused on the best interests of Yahoo!’s stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and more than 700 million users.”
 
However, the Chair insists the future’s bright, Yang-less:

“We appreciate Jerry’s comments and share his enthusiasm for the company’s prospects. With Scott Thompson leading an outstanding team of Yahoos to deliver innovative products and an engaging customer experience, Yahoo!’s future is bright.”

Scott Thompson, Yahoo!’s new CEO said: “Jerry leaves behind a legacy of innovation and customer focus for this iconic brand, having shaped our culture by fostering a spirit of innovation that began 17 years ago and continues to grow even stronger today.

Share price rose 3% to $15.43 following the announcement.
 

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