Semel out as Yahoo CEO; co-founder Yang to take over
Terry Semel had led the company for six years
Semel had been the focus of intense criticism in the past two years as a result of Yahoo's inability to capitalize as much as expected on the fast-growing market for search engine advertising. In contrast, Google Inc. has enjoyed eye-popping revenue growth and enviable profits almost exclusively from the search advertising market.
Last week, at Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting, Semel fielded stinging criticism from shareholders in attendance, leading to tense exchanges at times.
Semel resigned from his position as CEO and chairman and will become nonexecutive chairman and serve as an adviser to the management team.
Semel became chairman and CEO in May 2001.
The board of directors appointed Yang, who co-founded the company 12 years ago, as CEO, and Susan Decker, former executive vice president and head of the advertiser and publisher group, as the company's president.
In a webcast, Semel said that he had told the board that he wanted to step back from his executive role "sooner rather than later" and that he and the board had agreed that this would be a good time for him to step down as CEO.
"I've long been talking to the board about the importance of ensuring a smooth succession to Yahoo's senior leadership," Semel said.
Semel expressed full confidence that Yang and Decker are the right people to carry Yahoo "through its multiyear transformation," while acknowledging that the past year has been a difficult one for Yahoo and that no one in Yahoo's management has been satisfied with the company's performance.
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