Yang resigns from Yahoo

Founder jumps ship

Yahoo co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang has officially resigned from the company, it was announced yesterday.

Yang had been on the board of directors since founding Yahoo Inc. with David Filo in 1995, and was CEO of the company from June 2007 to January 2009. He has also resigned from the boards of Yahoo Japan and the Alibaba Group, and relinquished the honorary title of 'Chief Yahoo'. In his resignation letter, Yang explained: "The time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo".

During his tenure as CEO, Yang angered many shareholders by rejecting Microsoft's $47.5bn (£31bn) takeover bid. Internal forecasts indicated that Yahoo was set to grow and would be worth more than Microsoft's offer; the decision proved disastrous, as after several bad years and a decline in search engine market share, the company is now valued at around $20bn. After shareholder Carl Icahn kicked up a fuss, Yang was replaced as CEO by Carol Bartz, who was later fired by telephone after failing to turn around the company's fortunes.

An exciting and successful future?

Yang's departure comes just weeks after former PayPal president Scott Thompson became Yahoo's new CEO. However, Yang was full of praise for the new leader, saying: "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."

One potential move would be to sell off Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, which can go ahead following Yang's resignation; Associated Press estimated the deal would be worth $17bn (£11.1bn) and could therefore go some way to "placate investors". Meanwhile, Yahoo shares rose by 3.4 per cent in after-hours trading yesterday.

Richard Frost, managing editor at theEword, commented: "Jerry Yang's departure marks the end of an era for Yahoo, one the company would probably rather forget. It remains to be seen how Yahoo will fare going forward, but the predicted sell off and rise in stock sound promising. As for Yang, he still owns plenty of Yahoo shares, so if things go well he could actually profit from his own resignation."