Yahoo! announced today that Terry Semel’s position as the CEO of the Internet titan will now be in the hands of Jerry Yang. Yang was an original founder of the company and currently serves as a Board Member.
Susan Decker, the current EVP and Head of the Advertiser and Publisher Group, and up until recently was also the company’s chief financial officer, was named president.
These changes at the top of Yahoo! are being made while the company has undergone persistent internal and external criticism for their new search project, dubbed Panama. Panama has failed to boost results for the company. Yahoo reported disappointing results for the first quarter in April and issued weaker-than-expected guidance for the remainder of 2007.
Semel said in a statement, “The Board and I have long talked about the importance of ensuring a smooth succession in Yahoo!’s senior leadership — and more recently, about the need for a leadership team committed to carrying Yahoo through its multi-year transformation. As we discussed my future goals and plans, I was clear in telling the Board of my desire to take a step back sooner rather than later.”
While there was no public company comment on the relationship to the recent loss of market position to Google, industry analysts speculate that the Board was extremely unhappy with the latest Yahoo stock and market performance. Market speculators have made a lot of noise recently about how Yahoo has been trumped by Google with the latest round of strategic acquisitions. Google hascompletedseveral strategic acquisitions includingDoubleClick and a collection of other top tier companies while Yahoo has lost out. The recent acquisition of Right Media demonstrates one of the first significant efforts by Yahoo to gain ground. Unfortunately for Mr. Semel it appears too little too late to make a difference.