Maggie Shiels

Adios Jerry

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 18 Nov 08, 08:16 GMT

Now the hard work for Yahoo really begins.

Jerry YangJerry Yang has decided he has had enough of living a miserable life as the embattled CEO of Yahoo and will step down from the post when a successor is found. The end was always coming but it seemed to take an age in doing so.

The chatter of late has been increasing about just how long Mr Yang could hang on at the top. And he himself really got the Valley wagging earlier this month when he took part in a one on one conversation at the Web 2.0 Summit and said that he thought the best thing that Microsoft could do would be to buy Yahoo and that it was for sale.

Well with Microsoft's $33 a share offer almost seeming like a distant dream and the historic lows of $10 plus a share a reality nightmare, who could blame him for giving it a try?

Hindsight is fabulous but it is obvious now that Mr Yang knew something no-one else in the room did that day and that was that he would soon be announcing his decision to quit as boss.

In an e-mail to employees he said that "all of you know that I have always and will always bleed purple," in homage to the colour of the Yahoo logo and as evidence that he still loves the company he co-founded with David Filo back in 1994.

But it is clear that someone more business savvy and not shy to get out and tout the company from the rooftops needs to take over.

The amazing thing about Yahoo that one forgets amid the carnage of the last year is that it attracts phenomenal business.

The latest fun fact on the site reveals that if Yahoo users joined hands to form a chain, they would wrap around the Earth 11 times. What that translates into is 88.4 million mail users who spent 25 billion minutes reading e-mail according to comScore.

The company also has a growing share of the US search market at over 20%. It ranks as the top US news and finance site with more than 18 million visitors and scored big on election night with 7.6 million unique users. And so the numbers go on, yet Yahoo has been a wounded animal for some time and Jerry Yang has been flailing around trying to hold it all together.

No more.

The next twist in this saga is speculation over who will take over with several naysayers putting Yahoo president Sue Decker down for not having enough experience and being too closely connected to Mr Yang.

Fresh from an election defeat though is Meg Whitman, the former boss of eBay who was on Senator McCain's team. She might be looking for a new challenge if she doesn't try to clinch the Republican nomination for California governor.

And the other names include Jon Miller, the former CEO of AOL and NewsCorp COO Peter Chernin.

While the question remains as to whether or not Mr Yang was pushed or jumped, one thing is for sure, the decision is a win win for both Yahoo and Mr Yang.

With some new blood at the helm, perhaps Yahoo will stand some chance of recovery.

For Mr Yang, who will remain with Yahoo after the new CEO takes over, it means more time to spend on his other passions: golf and good wine.


  • Comment number 1.

    If Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo it should do so now; a new CEO will raise the share price. I imagine Yahoo`s future strategy will be to focus on the core business areas that make money, shed those that don`t (Flickr anyone?) slim down staff numbers and so on. I use Yahoo for email, but not for search; I doubt I`m alone. The core problem for Yahoo remains that Google has the lion`s share of both the search and advertising market; even a combined MicroHoo would still only be a minority player.

    This reminds me of the demise of AltaVista in the original battle of the search engines, when Google first appeared. AltaVista still exists, but as a faint shadow of its former self. Yahoo could be going the same way.

  • Comment number 2.

    Adios Jerry! Good bye jerry, enjoy your next career stop in your journey!


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