If Jerry Yang has been saving up a "band of brothers" moment with his troops, this is it.
The departure of Flickr's co-founders, the husband and wife team of Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, follows the earlier resignation of Jeff Weiner, who was executive vice president of Yahoo's network division.
Last week, it was Usama Fayyad , chief data officer and EVP of research and strategic data solutions, as well as the announcement by Yahoo's high-profile developer Jeremy Zawodny that he's leaving the company as well.
Flickr's one of Yahoo's best properties. I suppose there's more than enough institutional memory within the group to withstand the resignation of its founders. But the timing comes at a really bad time for Yang and Yahoo. The company just finished up an unsatisfying four month on-again, off-again dalliance with Microsoft with Carl Icahn and the Wall Street crowd barking from the sidelines. It's too soon to predict whether a current deal with Google will work, but the pressure is on Yang to prove he knows better than the critics.
Even before the latest departures, AllThingsD co-impressario Kara Swisher asked the $64,000 question about Yang's tenure.
It's the obvious question, of course, to ask whether the co-founder of Yahoo has what it takes to manage the company through what will doubtlessly be a very difficult year.
It's no longer an academic question. Right now, Yang needs to demonstrate he's made of the stern stuff one associates with successful CEOs. Rightly or not, Yahoo is giving off signs of being in distress. It may be more image than reality. But in this business, image really does matter.
Jerry, is anybody home? With all due respect.