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Yahoo's co-founder, Jerry Yang, has resigned from the company he cultivated for 17 years to pursue new opportunities. This announcement comes only two weeks after the appointment of Scott Thompson as Yahoo's new CEO.
In a statement to the board, Yang wrote, "My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo."
Sri Sharma, Managing Director & Founder, Net Media Planet, agrees with Yang's move.
Many have said that Yang’s tenure as CEO has held Yahoo back. When he became CEO in 2007, Yang’s intention was to take on Google. Clearly that has failed and Google has continued to go from strength to strength. Maybe Yang would have been better focusing on Yahoo’s other business areas, such as Yahoo Mail, and give up trying to beat Google’s search offering.
Yang is undoubtedly a great of the internet but its right for him to go. Startup is his thing and it will be very interesting to see his new ventures in the near future.
However, Don Dodge, Developer Advocate at Google, thinks this is a bad move for the company.
Jerry Yang leaving is good for Yahoo from a stock market perspective, but maybe not from a company perspective. Jerry blocked the sale to Microsoft, and has been an obstacle for other potential buyers. Nothing could get done on deals for Yahoo Japan and Alibaba while Jerry was there. The stock price couldn't move will all these issues. But from a company perspective, Jerry is the heart and soul of the company. He will be greatly missed.
Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo Board, echoes this sentiment in an official press release issued yesterday. "Jerry Yang is a visionary and a pioneer, who has contributed enormously to Yahoo during his many years of service. He has always remained focused on the best interests of Yahoo's stakeholders."
As a key opponent to Microsoft's 2008 bid for Yahoo during his stint as CEO, stakeholders may not agree with Bostock's statement. Yang lost them the $44.6bn offer from Microsoft and since then the worth of Yahoo has more than halved.
Yahoo’s stock climbed another 2.5% to $15.81 today, regaining its share price which took a dip after the announcement that Scott Thompson was appointed as the new Yahoo chief executive.
Sharma believes this will be a positive development for Yahoo.
Yahoo’s share price is up following the announcement, showing investors are pleased with Yang’s departure and are regaining confidence in the company. Investors want to make a profit in the shorter term and Yang was a long term player. His decision not to sell Yahoo’s 40% stake in China’s Alibaba and the aborted sale to Microsoft could have angered some investors but, with China’s growth, this could have been a very shrewd move.
According to MarketWatch, Yang's departure came amidst speculation the Yahoo board is exploring a sale of Microsoft, or at least part of it, with its ownership stakes in Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan, a large chunk of the company’s market value, on the chopping block. In what seems like a confirmation of this possible sale, Yang has also stepped down as board member of Alibaba and Yahoo Japan, disassociating himself with the company he founded nearly 17 years ago in 1995.
Jeff Lynn, CEO, Seedrs Limited, believes a break is just what Yahoo! needs.
Anything that represents a break from the past is good for Yahoo, and so discontinuing involvement by its co-founder must be a plus. As is often said, Yahoo's struggle is that it doesn't really know what it is as a company - it has lots of great properties but no clear and cohesive mission in the way that Google and Facebook do. What they need now more than anything is genuine blue sky thinking about who they want to be, and I see no way to achieve that without having entirely fresh blood.
Dom Hodgson, CEO of EmberAds, echoes the sentiment of a number of people online. His is the voice of those who have seen the rise and fall of this Internet giant. "Yahoo is a beloved entity to many but at the moment it seems to have no purpose. What do people go to Yahoo for these days? *tumbleweed* Exactly."
All eyes are on Yahoo at the moment, a big change from the past few years. A question many of us are asking - Is this Yahoo's death knell or will this move bring them back from the brink?