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Yahoo CEO Yang to Step Down

 1:27 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yahoo, under fierce financial pressure, has begun a search to replace company co-founder Jerry Yang as chief executive, the company said Monday.




 1:31 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just saw this on another site and was hoping for a more authoritative source like CNet. Thanks for posting this. I wonder who will be taking over as CEO?


 2:00 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's all over the place now:
Yang to Step Down After Microsoft, Google Deals Fail [bloomberg.com]

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang will step down, following his failure to negotiate a takeover by Microsoft Corp. and broker an online advertising agreement with Google Inc.

Yahoo is searching for a new CEO, the company said today in a statement. Yang, 40, will continue to serve on the board. He took the top job at the 13-year-old Internet company in June 2007, promising to win back users and advertisers lost to market leader Google.


 4:15 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nice job Jerry! What a sad joke.


 4:29 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think Jerry's main problem was he was to attatched. In business you realy need to think with the head, not the heart. Yahoo! was clearly his "baby".

Who ever takes on the roll of CEO, will clearly have their work cut out. Yahoo is in deep, The choice of new CEO will be the most importaint desicion Yahoo has ever had to face.



 6:12 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

The choice of new CEO will be the most importaint desicion Yahoo has ever had to face.

Who could that be? Already with Yahoo or not?

WW - nice job with spelling check, BTW. Thanks!


 7:14 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I would think they would look for someone from outside to bring a unique perspective... but what do I know?
This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

I agree that Yang was "too close". His emotional ties seemingly led him down a path of poor decisions. I got the feeling he was rejecting the MS bid just because it was MS -- even though it looked like the correct decision financially at the time.


 7:29 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Glad to see Yahoo die a slow painful death. If I didn't listen to my customers my business would die a slow painful death as well.


 8:14 am on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

As long as they don't bring in another Hollywood CEO, they've got a chance to go places. Get the technology right on search - even just get something that works reliably to import Google campaigns and they could potentially increase search revenue by 5% - 20%.

Jerry didn't seem to do much but neither did the last guy.


 12:41 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Slow and painful death" is probably an exaggeration - I would rather say that Yahoo suffers from a chronic disease. There might be a cure in the future, but until then, healthy firms will have outgrown Yahoo.


 12:44 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now there's a surprise....not.


 12:53 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

About time I'd say. This guy single-handedly shafted shareholders for almost $15 a piece.


 1:11 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

No doubt he'll walk with a hefty bonus while the shareholders are left with shares worth less than half of what MS was going to pay. I'm usually willing to give company management wide latitude to do what's best, but this whole episode is troubling.


 1:14 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

YHOO shares up 14% in pre-market trading as of now...


 1:44 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

He inherited a mess and because of outside forces didn't have time to rebuild from the inside. Terry Semel deserves the blame. If he'd have had time, like Steve Jobs did, he'd have turned it around. It's so easy to blame him after he turned down the offer, the economy spun out and a corporate raider made rebuilding impossible. If the second wouldn't have happened, then it would have been a fair test. Terry Semel wasn't emotionally attached. And look what he did to Yahoo.


 1:46 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

About time I'd say. This guy single-handedly shafted shareholders for almost $15 a piece.

Shareholders had the opportunity to sell their shares when it hit $30 back in February... but greed had them holding out for a buy-out by Microsoft.

So shareholders cannot complain. They missed the boat. As did the rest of America as the stock market tanked since then.

I think most of us would be hard pressed to find a handful of US companies whose stocks are doing well right now.

If shareholders did not agree with how Yahoo was being run during the Microhoo talks, they should have sold their shares. If they stuck around, then they were either being greedy, or they believe in Yahoo.


 3:02 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

so much for "the founder knows best what's good for his company as he's the founder after all and therefore knows his company best". what a fool.

[edited by: moTi at 3:07 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2008]


 3:02 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

but greed had them

I haven't owned any shares of Yahoo! for years so my response to the comment "but greed had them" isn't a personal defense but an observation.

When Microsoft came knocking Jerry Yang wasn't telling shareholders to "be irrational", i.e. greedy. He was telling shareholders that there was greater value tied up in the Yahoo brand than Microsoft was offering.

IF investing is a manifestation of greed then everyone is guilty. However, most folks I know who are invested in the stock market aren't motivated by greed. They're motivated by reason, however poorly informed, by the likes of fiduciaries such as Jerry Yang.


 3:05 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Too late...


 3:49 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

When Microsoft came knocking Jerry Yang wasn't telling shareholders to "be irrational", i.e. greedy. He was telling shareholders that there was greater value tied up in the Yahoo brand than Microsoft was offering.

You are correct, and the same may be true today in the long run. Their stock price is really irrelevant. Every company's stock has tanked regardless of performance.

Would we agree that Google is doing very well in this economy and has a healthy business model, dominating its market with growing revenues? Well look at their stock price compared to Yahoo:

link to stock price [finance.yahoo.com]

You can see they have pretty much fallen together equally over the last year. The stock prices across this country are irrelevant to company potential and performance right... it is based on fear and control by the masses of day traders.

So to me, it comes down to branding. And I don't think Yang is wrong about the Yahoo brand over the Microsoft brand. I think Yahoo is a better internet brand, and has more potential than if they were to be swallowed up and eventually 301 redirected to Live.com and MSN.com.

That is from a long term brand perspective. The easy argument that anyone can make is that the investors would have made more money if they sold to Microsoft. This is true, as is the statement that they would have made more money if they sold their stock regardless of the sale to Microsoft before the markets tanked.

So let's say the stock never tanked just like every other stock in the US right now. Let's say it held its value while all other stocks tanked. The investors would not be complaining right now, because they would not have lost their money (potentially).

So it does boil down to greed, money and a ticked off market of investors losing their pants in every investment right now... and someone wants to see a head roll for accountability beyond themselves...;-)

[edited by: encyclo at 11:08 am (utc) on Nov. 19, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed side-scroll [/edit]


 5:00 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yeah Clark. I don't know why everyone blames Yang for the rejection of the MSFT offer. He had the support of the majority of shareholders and any shareholder who didn't like it could have sold out at any time before Microsoft walked away.


 6:37 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Don’t under why so many people seem to be anti-yahoo. Mr Yang still has the worlds best portal, and a very good chance of it staying that way. The share price is not at a realistic figure of Yahoo’s worth, so I’m sure it will bounce back to something more reasonable.

Its all hyped up, there is actually no reason why Yahoo have to do or change anything but continue doing what their best in the world at - being a portal. I bet Microsoft are laughing at all the #*$! they've caused.


 6:42 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think Jerry's main problem was he was to attatched. In business you realy need to think with the head, not the heart. Yahoo! was clearly his "baby".

Good point but you could've said the same thing about Steve Jobs. Hindsight...
I think part of the problem is that Yang took over not only in a tough time for Yahoo! but a tough time for the economy and ... even Google. Check out the chart of Google and Yahoo!'s stocks [finance.google.com] since Jun 2007 when Yang took over Yahoo! Google's stock price is down 40% while Yahoo's is down 60%. A difference to be sure but is it enough to justify all of the flack that Yang gets?
Now I don't know if he deserves it or not really. But I'll say that this reminds me of a a book I read recently called "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" [amazon.com] by physicist Leonard Mlodinow. Basically the book is all about how we, as humans, are always trying to make sense of things that happen even though randomness plays a huge role. He makes some great points about people like CEO's, movie executives, mutual fund managers, etc. A good example is people who choose movies. Sometimes they make a few 'flops', and they get fired. They're told that they're not any good at 'picking hits'. But, movies are years in the making, so when they're fired there's a queue of movies that THEY CHOSE that do eventually get made. And some of those go on to be ENORMOUS blockbusters. So, really, the executive WAS good at picking hits, or at least as good as any other executive, but had some bad luck. This happens all the time - and I'm not sure there's much we can do about it except to be aware of it and try to separate out those cases where it's clearly true that it was the mis-management or lack of experience of the CEO/whomever that lead to all of the problems.
In the case of Yahoo! I'd say this is not clearly the case given the state of the economy and the struggles that Yahoo! was already dealing with (such as fierce competition with Google, etc) BEFORE Yang became CEO.
In any case, there probably was not much choice for Yang/Yahoo! given the state of the company right now - and I hope the change will do them good. Even if it's just random.


 7:08 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

physics - Thanks for posting that...makes total sense. Needed to hear that today, and wish Yang could hear it as well.

If you look back at the threads when MS was going to by Yahoo, you'll see there were many people saying, "Don't Do It". He wasn't alone at the time and hindsight is crystal clear.

I'm sure he wasn't working independently on the decisions, there were others involved and advising.

Not worried about Yang, he will bounce back in some other form. He succeeded once, he can do it again with another venture.


 7:13 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

They are not attached to their employee's, why would they care about anything else?


 9:01 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

ashear, not quite sure what you mean :)


 9:22 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy to bash a public figure in a forum.

Let's not forget that while a CEO is appointed by shareholders, shareholders are NOT the only stakeholders in any company.

Shareholders are almost by definition (for a publicly traded company) interested in the _very_ short term and terribly hard to convince to see anything but the dollar value of today's shares.

Other stakeholders (think e.g. employees) are generally in it for a far longer term, as is the CEO him/herself. The users of Yahoo!, society at large around the globe, ... are also stakeholders in Yahoo! and they are in it for an even longer term.

As such I think it's a pity he has to go as it seems he was reasonably good at protecting interests of other stakeholders aside of the greedy (by definition) shareholders.


 9:28 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think any CEO worth their salt would have, and should have taken MS's offer given the present state of the company and the competitive landscape. So for those reasons I do blame Yang. That said, you're right those that hung on to Yahoo stock as soon as it became clear he wasn't budging sorta got what they deserved.


 9:48 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Really interesting posts here. Some of you are causing me to rethink my assumption that Yang made bad decisions because he was "too close".
Perhaps he saw value that was still unlocked, but didn't have enough time to "right the ship" before the economy took a downturn etc.
Very interesting.


 9:56 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

where do I send my resumé?

This 53 message thread spans 2 pages: 53 ( [1] 2 > >
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