Jerry Yang to step down as CEO, back to Chief Yahoo

Jerry Yang, co-founder and CEO of Yahoo. will step down as CEO as soon as the board of directors finds a replacement, sources told All Things Digital's Boomtown blog today.

Jerry Yang, co-founder and CEO of Yahoo. will step down as CEO as soon as the board of directors finds a replacement, sources told All Things Digital's Boomtown blog today. (Techmeme) The company made a formal announcement shortly after the blog posting went live.

Yang, 40, will resume his position as Chief Yahoo and will retain a seat on the company's board of directors. His decision to step down was reportedly a joint decision between him and the board. Company chairman Roy Bostock will lead the search for a new CEO, looking at both internal and external candidates. Sources told All Things Digital that company president Sue Decker is being considered but that the replacement will likely come from outside the company. In a statement, Bostock said:

Over the past year and a half, despite extraordinary challenges and distractions, Jerry Yang has led the repositioning of Yahoo! on an open platform model as well as the improved alignment of costs and revenues. Jerry and the Board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level. We are deeply grateful to Jerry for his many contributions as CEO over the past 18 months, and we are pleased that he plans to stay actively involved at Yahoo! as a key executive and member of the Board.

Yang took over as CEO in June 2007, following former CEO Terry Semel's departure as the company continued its struggles. Yang's troubles grew after the company, under his leadership, rejected a $31 per share takeover attempt by Microsoft and then struggled to overcome a proxy fight launched by shareholder Carl Icahn. Most recently, the company was delivered a blow when Google pulled out of an ad deal between the two companies under pressure from Washington regulators. In the company's release, Yang said:

"From founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensible to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise. When the Board asked me to become CEO and lead the transformation of the Company, I did so because it was important to re-envision the business for a different era to drive more effective growth. Having set Yahoo! on a new, more open path, the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and our global talent to a new leader. I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo! realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation.

Yang's e-mail to Yahoo employees, obtained by Boomtown, doesn't say much beyond what one might expect. In it, he said, "despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago."

Shares of Yahoo closed at $10.63 in regular trading Monday but were up more than 4 percent in after hours trading.

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