Looks like at least one chapter of the long Yahoo soap opera has drawn to a close. Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo back in 1995 announced yesterday that he was stepping down from his position as CEO. The move comes after many, many months of wrangling, proxy battling, and failed takeover and merger attempts — most notably Yang turned down a unsolicited offer of $31 a share in cash and stock from Microsoft — and more recently a failed move to strike a search-advertising partnership with Google.
Yang took over as CEO in June of 2007 amidst “high hopes” but quickly became the object of shareholder frustration and criticism after turning down the Microsoft offer amidst plummeting stock shares. Proxy battler Carl Icahn had promised to replace Yang if he was successful in his bid this past spring, but in the end the two managed to strike a truce, which kept Yang in is position. That said, apparently Yang has been considering stepping down for months. Wired says Yang is “out of the company he cofounded looking anything but a visionary, but instead as yet another high tech entrepreneur…who didn’t realized that time had passed him by.” On the upside Yang’s return to a figurehead position (Chief Yahoo) may pave the way for another deal with Microsoft. As for who might fill Yang’s shoes?
According to Yang’s message to the troops:
Roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.
The L.A. Times is speculating that AOL CEO Jonathan Miller, News Corp. President Peter Chernin and Yahoo President Sue Decker, may all be in the running, though Marketwatch is wondering who at this point would want to lead the company?