Yang Bows to the Inevitable, Will Step Down as Yahoo Ceo

18 November 2008

SUNNYVALE, California: Jerry Yang (pictured) co-founder and current chief executive of beleaguered internet portal Yahoo, is to relinquish his post as soon as a successor is appointed.

Given the politicking and back-stairs maneuvrings within Yahoo's board and among its shareholders, many candidates might regard the offer of Yang's job as something of a poisoned chalice.

According to company insiders, Yang has been discussing the move with chairman Roy Bostock over the past several weeks. After stepping down he will remain with the company in a senior role.

Many will be sorry to see Yang go. Activist investor Carl Icahn, however, is not one of them.

He would have sought Yang's removal had his proxy campaign succeeded at the company's recent annual meeting. But sixty-six percent of stockholders' votes were cast in Yang's favour.

Meantime, on the other side of the mountain, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is reportedly still interested in buying Yahoo's search operations,  despite several public declarations to the contrary.

Acquisition would certainly make sense for the cash-rich software colossus, which to its chagrin remains the Cinderella among the Big Three internet search companies, with just 8.3% of the US search market.

Although Yahoo commands more than double that figure with 19.6%, it still forlornly trails Google's dominant 63%.

Meantime, word within Yahoo's executive washrooms is that a prime candidate for Yang's job is company president Susan Decker, who is well-regarded by several boardroom kingmakers.

Said a Microsoft spokesman after being confronted with news of Yang's transfer to the departure lounge: "No comment."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff