updated 05:20 pm EST, Tue January 17, 2012
Yahoo loses Yang as new CEO takes over
(Update: more to come?) Yahoo on Tuesday said that its co-founder Jerry Yang was leaving the company. He had immediately resigned both from the Board of Directors and "all other positions" at the search giant, including a board spot at Alibaba. He sought to "pursue other interests" beyond the company but cast it as an amicable leap, putting his confidence in new CEO Scott Thompson.
Board chairman Roy Bostock cast Yang's exit as a voluntary one. "While I and the entire Board respect his decision, we will miss his remarkable perspective, vision and wise counsel," he said.
The departure is an unusual one for a veteran Silicon Valley company co-founder, and comes after years of hoping to keep on an executive role even when he was no longer CEO. For awhile, he was given the title of "Chief Yahoo," giving him some direction in the company but not the authority he was used to.
Yang quitting could signal a different direction for a company that has always had him as an overseer in some form. Thompson hasn't been specific on his strategy changes but is credited with rapidly growing PayPal where Yahoo has been relatively static in recent years. Many considered it symbolic when Yahoo effectively gave up on challenging Google directly in search and struck a deal with Microsoft to have Bing run a large part of its searches, in part after Yang and his board rejected a hostile Microsoft takeover attempt.
Update: Leaks to AllThingsD had four board members joining Yang soon, including chairman Bostock. The shakeup would reportedly be to head off lawsuits as well as proxy fights from investors. Attempts to sell just some of the company may have angered investors who saw it as a botched maneuver and signs the board as-is couldn't be trusted.