Jerry Yang Takes Over as Yahoo CEO

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Internet giant Yahoo has announced that company co-founder Jerry Yang has been named the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Terry Semel who will step into a role as non-executive chair of Yahoo’s board of directors.

Semel came to Yahoo as CEO in 2001 as the dot-com bubble burst and Yahoo was facing a nadir of its online businesses. Semel led the company in a significant turnaround; however, he has been facing mounting pressures as the company struggles to compete against the likes of Google and Microsoft for dominance of the Internet search, online advertising, and Internet software markets. Yahoo has seen its profits decline by 16 percent since the beginning of 2007, and currently commands roughly one quarter of U.S. online searches.

Yahoo’s board also named Sue Decker as Yahoo’s President. Decker previously served as a Yahoo executive VP and headed up the company’s advertising and publishing group.

Yahoo’s new CEO, Jerry Yang, founded Yahoo with David Filo in 1995; he has played a number of important roles within the organization, including overseeing technology development, international expansion, and overall corporate strategy.

“I’m delighted to assume this leadership role at the company David Filo and I started 12 years ago,” said Yang in a statement. “I want to thank Terry for his many contributions to Yahoo and for giving the company six of its best years. He has been not only a strong leader, but a consummate partner. And, Sue and I look forward to working with him to build on our firm foundation for future success and improved financial performance.”

Rumors have persistently put Yahoo and Microsoft in possible merger or takeover talks in an effort to mount a joint offensive against Google; however, discussions don’t seem to have ever evolved past an informal stage and it’s unknown, from a business perspective, how a combined company would resolve many online product and service redundancies, and neither company seems to have an outstanding property or an overall technology edge the other can’t live without. The industry will closely watch Yang for new strategies to spur Yahoo’s revenue growth and brand expansion.

In a release, Semel said: “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.”