Yahoo! co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang told the Internet portal on Monday that he would step down from his CEO role.
Yang, who took over running Yahoo! in June 2007 after the departure of former Hollywood executive Terry Semel, has been under pressure from shareholders after turning down a $44 billion bid from software giant Microsoft to acquire the company. He later pursued an advertising partnership with search giant Google, but that venture was scuttled after objections from federal regulators.
Yang will return to the corporate strategy role, known as “Chief Yahoo!,” that he formerly held once a new CEO is hired, and will remain on the company’s board of directors. Yahoo! announced it has retained search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help find Yang’s replacement.
"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," said Roy Bostock, Yahoo! chairman and leader of the search process, in a statement. "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."
"From founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensable to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise," said Yang in a statement. "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."