Jerry Yang to step down as Yahoo CEO

What a long strange trip it’s been. Mark this one as done folks – Yahoo has officially announced that Jerry Yang will step down as CEO of Yahoo. Yang has been at the helm of what can only be described as a sinking ship since June of 2007. His moves have been made under a microscope, his decisions have been questioned by just about everyone with a keyboard and he has been the subject of much criticism, to say the least. What’s done is done though and suffice it to say we definitely do not envy whoever the appropriately-named executive head hunting firm Heidrick & Struggles finds as Yang’s replacement. He or she will inherit a mess of epic proportions as Yahoo struggles to stay afloat and no doubt begins begging Microsoft, even more than Yang did, to come back to the bargaining table. As for Yang, he will return to his prior role as Chief Yahoo and will still sit on the board of directors. If Yang is still with the company in six months we’ll be truly amazed. Hit the jump for Yang’s full memo sent today to all Yahoo employees.

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To: all yahoos
Fr: Jerry
Subject: update

yahoos -

i wanted to address all of you on the news we’ve just announced. the board of directors and I have agreed to initiate a succession process for the ceo role of yahoo!. roy bostock, our chairman of the board, is leading the effort to identify and assess potential candidates for consideration by the full board. the board will be evaluating and considering both internal and external candidates and has retained heidrick and struggles to help in this effort.

i will be participating in the search for my successor, and i will continue as ceo until the board selects a new ceo. once a successor is named, i will return to my previous role as chief yahoo and continue to serve as a director on the board.

last june, i accepted the board’s request that i assume the ceo role to restructure and reposition the company as a whole in order to more effectively meet the fast-changing needs of both users and partners. since taking on the ceo role, i have had an ongoing dialogue with the board about succession timing. thanks in large measure to your tireless efforts, we have created a more open, competitive yahoo! and we believe the time is now right to transition to a new ceo who can take the company to the next level.

despite the external environment we face, the fact remains that yahoo! is now a significantly different company that is stronger in many ways than it was just 18 months ago. this only makes it all the more essential that we manage this opportunity to leverage the progress up to this point as effectively as possible. i strongly believe that having transformed our platform and better aligned costs and revenues, we have a unique window for the right ceo to take ownership over the next wave of mission-critical decisions facing the company.

all of you know that I have always, and will always bleed purple. i will always do what I think is right for this great company. while this step will be an adjustment for all of us, i know it’s the right one. i look forward to updating you on this process as soon as the board has developments to share, and will continue to do everything i can to make yahoo! fulfill its full potential.

thank you,
jerry

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