Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang Leaving Company

“My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life; however, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo” remarked Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yang when leaving the company that he started along with Stanford University graduate student David Filo nearly a decade ago (1995).

Yang has severed his bonds with the company by stepping down from all positions, which include his seat on the Yahoo Board of Directors. However, the company has skillfully refrained from passing any comment on the matter nor has hinted on Yang’s immediate stint. In any case, Yang is also not too keen about taking up any assignment now as he is worth well over $1.1 billion (according to Forbes Magazine’s latest estimate) and will probably go on a philanthropic mission shortly.

Nevertheless, here are some issues that are likely to have unqualified links to Yang’s departure from Yahoo.

  • Yang’s departure was a welcome change for the shareholders who disliked Yang’s disapproval of large financial deals that could have helped Yahoo overcome its struggle for survival.
  • Wall Street viewed the exit of Yang as clearing the way for larger infusion of cash investments from private equity or even to the extent of selling its 40% stake in Alibaba (Chinese) that is likely to unlock value for its shareholders.
  • The departure equates the end of an era; of a tarnished internet icon that has been forced to spend most of the decade scuttling to catch up with search leader Google Inc – a company that benefited from the advice of no other than Yang.
  • Yang had also alienated Yahoo’s shareholders by turning down the opportunity of selling Yahoo, lock, stock and barrel to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion ($33 per share) when the offer came in May 2008.
  • “This has fingerprints of frustration on it. It’s one of those situations where it looks like Yang is losing the battle to control the company’s direction and now he is saying, That’s it, I’m out- commented BGC Financial analyst Colin Gills.

Bottom line: Whatever the underpinnings are that have played their roles behind this dramatic departure, neither Jerry Yang nor Yahoo! would ever open their mouth about it, lest they may have to put their foot into it.