- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO

Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang is stepping down as chief executive, ending a rocky reign marked by his refusal to sell the Internet company to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion, more than triple Yahoo’s current market value.

The change in command announced Monday won’t be completed until Yahoo finds his replacement. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said it is interviewing candidates inside and outside Yahoo in a search led by its chairman, Roy Bostock, and the executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles.

“Jerry and the board have had an ongoing dialogue about succession timing, and we all agree that now is the right time to make the transition to a new CEO who can take the company to the next level,” Mr. Bostock said.

Mr. Yang, who started Yahoo with Stanford University classmate David Filo in 1994, will revert to “Chief Yahoo,” a titular role he filled before replacing former movie studio boss Terry Semel as chief executive officer in June 2007. He will also remain on Yahoo’s board of directors.

“I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation,” Mr. Yang said.

Although Mr. Yang had publicly expressed his desire to remain at the helm, Yahoo’s board faced intensifying pressure to cast him aside as the company’s shares plunged to its lowest levels since early 2003.

The stock fell 19 cents Monday to close at $10.63 - a fraction of Microsoft’s last bid of $33 per share in early May.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer huffily withdrew the offer after Mr. Yang sought $37 per share. The negotiating breakdown triggered a shareholder revolt led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who called for Mr. Yang’s ouster in July before reaching a truce that put him and two allies on Yahoo’s 11-member board.

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