Timing is everything.
And, so, it should come as no surprise that Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang feels the "time is right" for a new leader to guide the embattled Internet search pioneer. The company announced Monday that it has started a search to replace Yang as CEO.
Two weeks ago, Yahoo's proposed search advertising partnership with Google was abandoned, after federal antitrust regulators indicated they would challenge the deal. For Yahoo, that dealt a blow to its plans to generate as much as $800 million in additional revenue, and had served as a cornerstone to ward off an earlier unsolicited buyout bid by Microsoft and later a search-only hybrid offer.
The failed search advertising partnership, in essence, marked a closed chapter in a series of tumultuous chapters that engulfed Yahoo's operations for the better part of the year. There were the failed buyout bids from Microsoft, followed by a proxy fight from dissident shareholder Carl Icahn (who has since become a company director), then intense negotiations with federal antitrust regulators over the Google deal.
In his blog posting Tuesday, Yang offers this assessment of his CEO tenure over the past 18 months:
Ever since founding Yahoo! with David Filo 13 years ago, I've been passionate about this company, its brand, its employees, and the millions of people around the world who consider it their online home. That's why I accepted the Board's request to become CEO in June 2007, taking on the challenge of transforming Yahoo! at a time when the industry was evolving quickly and we needed to rethink and restructure our business.
And despite the tough external environment that we face, I truly believe we've made tangible progress in bringing our strategic vision to life. Most significantly, we've rewired our entire network to create a Yahoo! that has opened its doors to outside publishers and developers. We've launched an advertising platform that we think will transform how ads are bought and sold online. And we've continued to grow our audience -- standing first or second in more than 20 product categories and demonstrating that Yahoo! is the place users turn for major events like the Olympics and the Elections.
And now I believe the time is right for us to bring in a new leader -- someone who will build on the important pillars we've put in place and who will take the reins on the critical decisions our company faces.
Yang notes he will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is named. Then he will resume his role as chief Yahoo, working on global strategy and improving the company's products and their development. Yang will also continue to serve on the company's board of directors.
In closing, Yang writes:
It's been an extraordinary year here at Yahoo! -- for all of us. I'm really proud of the determination and resilience of Yahoos around the world who are so committed to giving you the best Internet experience possible. It is for them, and for you, that I will always bleed purple.