Posted November 17, 2008 9:38 pm by with 13 comments

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The writing has been on the wall for many weeks, but today, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang officially announced he will be stepping down from the position he assumed 18 months ago.

The official press release begins…

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Jerry Yang, co-Founder of Yahoo!, has decided to return to his former role as Chief Yahoo! upon the appointment of his successor as CEO, and he will also continue to serve on the Board. Yang, 40, assumed the CEO role at the Board’s request in June 2007, and he has led Yahoo! through a strategic repositioning and transformation of its platform.

As you’d expect, Yahoo tries to put a positive spin on what has become a nightmare situation for the company. What you might find hard to swallow is Yang’s personal email to Yahoo employees. It actually includes the following statement (emphasis added):

…the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago…

Anyone–particularly Yahoo shareholders–care to weigh in on that statement?

  • Sure, I’ll weigh in. Dear God – Who does he think he’s kidding? Next thing you know, he’ll say the economy is fundamentally strong.

  • Stronger huh? I will need to do some significant head scratching on that one. I guess if you mean in the “We’re stronger than Live Search” way maybe that could work. Otherwise I think that Jerry and his fellow Yahoo-ligans are drinking some pretty strong Kool Aid to even think that let alone letting it get to the point of writing it down.

    Maybe he is trying to rally the troops? Kind of like saying to the folks on the Titanic that “We regret the minor delay, please remain calm and will resume your voyage shortly.”

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  • It’s been almost 18 months since Yang came back as CEO. Maybe what he means is that they weakened when he came back and are stronger now that he’s leaving?

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  • Is the heat getting to strong in the kitchen? Often times people are in denial so we will have to wait and see how this unfolds.

  • I don’t know any company that’s stronger now than they were 18 months ago. Maybe Campbell’s Soup and Walmart.

  • You can slice it whichever way you choose, Yahoo definitely isn’t stronger right now.

  • Frustrated YHOO shareholder

    This statement is almost as incredible as him saying 2 weeks ago that he accomplsihed “most, if not all, of what he set out to day” This man should be in prision forget about keeping his seat on the board. How in the world can this guy spend $72m of shareholder money, to fend off $50b of shareholder money? If this isn’t criminal it should be. To say this move was long overdue is an understatement of the century.

  • Yang spin or not, all this opens the door is for somebody to step in who will do exactly the thing that has put our economy into the crapper, toss out the fundamentals of running a company for the purpose of making money by providing a useful product or service to consumers in exchange for getting the stock valued by some clueless investment firm so they can sell it off to the first or highest bidder.

    Yahoo has been successful in some areas, developing and acquiring products that are worthy of competing with Google and in some cases lead the market (Fantasy Football, Flickr, to name a few). They need a business leader who will help them move towards more of that, and focus on regaining the mindshare they once had. Microsoft buying Yahoo will ensure that Google becomes even more dominant. Microsoft has steadily lost marketshare in their dominant markets, the desktop and browsers year to year and in search… come on… they are and always have been the laughing stock of the search industry. Does anyone seriously think MS buying Yahoo is anything but a quick cash payout to investors and the end of Yahoo? If you do, then you have NOT been paying attention.

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  • I wonder how much of a bonus he will be getting in order to make Yahoo a weaker company.

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  • I bet he will miss his $1 pay cheque!!

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  • Seriously though who really wants this CEO job right now?

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  • The last 18 months have been hell for the company as a whole. No matter who steps in now as CEO during this economic down spiral will have a lot to pick up and try to piece back together to salvage.

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