SUNNY VALE, California: Yahoo ceo Terry Semel has stepped down, bowing to increasing criticism of the online search giant's lacklustre financial results and its failure to make a significant impact on rival Google's pre-eminent position.

Semel (pictured), who has been replaced by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, says he is taking a "step back" to become non-executive chairman and will no longer be involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

He comments: "This is a time for new executive leadership, with different skills and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realise its potential. It is the right thing to do and the right time is now."

Yang (38) created the original Yahoo search engine in 1995 with partner David Filo. Since the company's launch on to the stock market a year later, Yang has overseen corporate strategy, technological development and international expansion.

Semel's departure coincides with an upturn in Yahoo's fortunes, resulting from initiatives he oversaw, including the revamped online search advertising system, dubbed Panama which is expected to improve trading results this quarter [WARC News: 19-Apr-07].

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff