Finally after all the shareholder activism led by corporate raider Carl Icahn, Yahoo Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Jerry Yang has decided to step down from the top job at the company. Yang, who took over last year to revive the sagging fortunes of Yahoo, will stay as Chief Yahoo! and a member of the board after finding a replacement. Yang’s decision comes as a surprise as he was till recently determined to lead the company.
Yang took over Terry Semel in June 2007 as the CEO. The growth of Yahoo’s revenues and users has been decreasing for a long time, and it has also seen its search engine business decline. With the current economic slowdown and corporates cutting their ad spends, the situation would have been made worse.
Yang’s tenure saw a hostile bid from Microsoft, which the company rejected. Microsoft was willing to offer a 72% premium over the share price of Yahoo, and the deals rejection attracted a lot of ire from shareholders. The it got into an search ad share deal with Google, which also collapsed recently.
The global internet giant is now looking for a new CEO, and has hired an executive firm – Heidrick & Struggles – to find a replacement both internally and externally. Some of the candidates believed to be in consideration are News Corp. COO Peter Chernin, as well as former AOL head Jon Miller, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig.