Heave-Hoo! Yahoo’s Semel Out As CEO


Breaking news from late yesterday:

Yahoo! Co-Founder Jerry Yang Named Chief Executive Officer

Terry Semel Named Non-Executive Chairman
Sue Decker Named President
Yang and Decker to Focus on Realizing Yahoo!’s Strategic Vision by Accelerating Execution, Further Strengthening Leadership and Fostering a Culture of Winning

Sunnyvale, Calif., June 18, 2007 — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Jerry Yang, Yahoo! co-founder and long-time board member, as Chief Executive Officer. Terry Semel, current Yahoo! Chairman and CEO, will assume the position of non-executive Chairman and serve as an advisor and important resource for the company’s senior management team, while also working closely with the Board. The Board also named Susan Decker, formerly Executive Vice President and Head of Advertiser and Publisher Group, as President of the company.

Terry Semel said, “The Board and I have long talked about the importance of ensuring a smooth succession in Yahoo!’s senior leadership — and more recently, about the need for a leadership team committed to carrying Yahoo! through its multi-year transformation. As we discussed my future goals and plans, I was clear in telling the Board of my desire to take a step back sooner rather than later. I believe Jerry and Sue, with their superb talents and intense dedication to Yahoo! and its people, are the perfect combination to carry us forward. This is the time for new executive leadership, with different skills and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realize its full potential — it is the right thing to do, and the right time is now.”

Now, the analysis:

  • NYP: The 64-year-old former Hollywood studio boss stepped aside late yesterday after losing the confidence of his board in an awkward shareholder showdown at the company’s annual meeting.
  • NYT: Some analysts maintain that the shake-up may be only a prelude to a more substantial corporate overhaul, which could include a merger or a sale.
  • Variety: Semel’s decision to resign now is in many ways just as surprising as his appointment to the post in 2001.
  • LAT: Susan Decker joined the company just before the Internet bubble burst. Now she’s in a position of helping to run it.
  • BusinessWeek: Can Yang and Decker revive the struggling company?
  • Forbes: It’s possible that Yang may dig in for the long term to fix the company he’s inherited.

And, of course, the bigger, elephant-in-the-room question: