While the resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO saw the share price in that company drop, the same cannot be said of the resignation of Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang last night, as shares in the once-dominant Internet giant rose by 3 per cent.
Yang, who founded the company in 1995, will step down from his position on the board of Yahoo! as well as his positions on the boards of the Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. His official title of “chief Yahoo” will also be relinquished.
Yang has been the face of Yahoo! since it was founded but in recent years he has frustrated shareholders and board members with his actions. He blocked the proposed takeover by Microsoft in 2008 which valued the company at $47.8 billion, a decision which left shareholders dismayed and angry.
In a letter to Yahoo’s chairman of the board, 43-year-old Yang said he was leaving to pursue “other interests outside of Yahoo” and was “enthusiastic” about Thompson as the choice to helm the company.
“Jerry Yang is a visionary and a pioneer, who has contributed enormously
to Yahoo! during his many years of service,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman
of the Yahoo! Board.
The resignation of Yang comes just two weeks after the board appointed former PayPal president Scott Thompson as its new CEO, giving him a mandate to return the once-leading Internet portal to the heights it enjoyed in the 1990s.
“Yahoo is losing the last piece of what was viewed by many as a stumbling organization,” says Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst.
The departure of Yang is seen by many as finally allowing Yahoo! to sell off its 40 per cent share in the Alibaba Group and its Yahoo Japan business. “Everyone is going to assume this means a deal is more likely with the Asia counterparts,” Macquarie analyst Ben Schacter said.
“The perception among shareholders was Jerry was more focused on trying to rebuild Yahoo than necessarily on maximizing near-term shareholder value. It certainly seems things are coming to a head as far as realizing the value of these assets,” Schacter added.