Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Yahoo Shakeup: Terry Semel is out, Jerry Yang named CEO

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 18, 2007

Terry Semel, the embattled head of Yahoo! has been ousted and replaced by co-founder Jerry Yang. The move comes in the wake of shareholder criticism of Yahoo! in its bid to keep up with Google (GOOG).

Mr Semel will remain as a non-executive chairman and advisor.

Susan Decker has been appointed president.

Here are details from Yahoo! and SVW analysis will soon follow:

Terry Semel Named Non-Executive Chairman Sue Decker Named President Yang and Decker to Focus on Realizing Yahoo!'s Strategic Vision by Accelerating Execution, Further Strengthening Leadership and Fostering a Culture of Winning

SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 18, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet company, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Jerry Yang, Yahoo! co-founder and long-time board member, as Chief Executive Officer. Terry Semel, current Yahoo! Chairman and CEO, will assume the position of non-executive Chairman and serve as an advisor and important resource for the company's senior management team, while also working closely with the Board. The Board also named Susan Decker, formerly Executive Vice President and Head of Advertiser and Publisher Group, as President of the company.

Terry Semel said, "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. I believe Jerry and Sue, with their superb talents and intense dedication to Yahoo! and its people, are the perfect combination to carry us forward. This is the time for new executive leadership, with different skills and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realize its full potential -- it is the right thing to do, and the right time is now."

Semel continued, "Jerry and Sue will make an unbeatable team. Jerry has long been recognized as an Internet visionary. His incredible experience and close involvement since founding the company 12 years ago have given him tremendous strategic, technical and industry insight as well as unparalleled knowledge and understanding of Yahoo! and its great potential. We are equally fortunate to have Sue Decker, one of the most talented executives in the industry, as our new President. Sue has played a broad and important role in driving our strategy over the years, and has shown even greater skills and leadership with the success she's had in taking on more operating responsibilities. Both Jerry and Sue have been great partners to me and I am looking forward to collaborating with and supporting them both, as well as the Board, in any way that I can as Chairman. I'm proud of all that we've accomplished over the past six years during this exciting, still early stage of the Internet's development, and my single goal is to ensure that Yahoo! achieves its full potential."

Director Ed Kozel, speaking on behalf of the Board, said, "The entire Board appreciates the vital role Terry has played in making Yahoo! the Internet leader it is today. After joining the company in 2001, Terry helped refocus Yahoo! on key strategic priorities and execute clear plans for growth, while building and acquiring world-class products and properties. Under his leadership, we have delivered great value to Yahoo!'s users, advertisers and shareholders -- increasing our revenues nearly nine-fold since 2001 to $6.4 billion for 2006, boosting our operating income from a loss in 2001 to nearly $1 billion last year, and creating more than $30 billion in shareholder value during his tenure. We've also built our industry-leading audience from 170 million users in 2001 to more than 500 million this year, and significantly expanded our strong and talented employee base from 3,500 to 12,000. All of us on the Board and throughout the company thank Terry for his many contributions over the years and for his willingness to stay on to assist Jerry, Sue and the Board as we drive Yahoo! forward."

Kozel continued, "We believe there is no better person in the world to run Yahoo! now than our visionary co-founder Jerry Yang, who has helped build and run this company over the past 12 years. Jerry provides phenomenal strategic, technical, product and market leadership, has developed important relationships with major business partners, and has defined and nurtured Yahoo!'s unique, winning culture. As the public face of Yahoo!, Jerry has been instrumental in attracting world-class talent to the company at all levels. In our new President Sue Decker, Jerry has the perfect partner. Sue was an outstanding CFO, has played a key strategic role as part of our senior management team, and in her growing operational role, has had enormous success as well. We are confident we have the right team in place to realize the enormous opportunities ahead."

Jerry Yang said, "I'm delighted to assume this leadership role at the company David Filo and I started 12 years ago. I want to thank Terry for his many contributions to Yahoo! and for giving the company six of its best years. He has been not only a strong leader, but a consummate partner. And, Sue and I look forward to working with him to build on our firm foundation for future success and improved financial performance. Sue has been an integral part of the management team and knows the company incredibly well. She has demonstrated her ability to build successful teams, drive critical partnerships, and lead some of our most important business initiatives. And she has proved herself to be adept in an increasingly broad range of complex operational responsibilities.

"I am very excited to be leading our exceptional team of 12,000 Yahoo!'s around the world," Yang continued. "It's an honor and a great responsibility, and I look forward to the challenge. My immediate and overarching priorities are to realize Yahoo!'s strategic vision by accelerating execution, further strengthening our leadership team and fostering an even stronger culture of winning."

Sue Decker said, "It is an incredibly important time for Yahoo! and I am thrilled to be partnering with Jerry to execute on our strategic vision. We have a terrific opportunity to build upon the benefits that we are already realizing from the recent reorganization around our core customers: hundreds of millions of users, hundreds of thousands of advertisers, and tens of thousands of publishers all over the world. It has been a great privilege to work with and learn from Terry and his leadership team over the past six years and that foundation will serve us well as we focus on the great opportunities and challenges ahead."

As part of this management change, Sue will assume leadership of Yahoo!'s business operations, which include the Advertiser and Publisher Group along with the Yahoo! Network, Connected Life, and our International operations. The Technology Group as well as all Corporate Functions will report to Jerry. David Filo will continue to play an important role in our management team by overseeing the company's strong technology organization as Yahoo! searches for a new Chief Technology Officer.

Because Mr. Semel resigned as CEO and will continue on as non-executive Chairman, the Company said there will be no separation agreement with him.

NOTE: Attached are letters sent today from Terry Semel to the Board of Directors and from Ed Kozel, on behalf of the Board, to Terry Semel.

Analyst Conference Call

Yahoo! will host an analyst conference call to discuss the management changes at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time today. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed through the Company's Investor Relations website at http://yhoo.client.shareholder.com/index.cfm. In addition, an archive of the webcast can be accessed through the same link. An audio replay of the call will be available following the conference call by dialing 1.888.286.8010 (Primary) or 1.617.801.6888 (International), reservation number: 14345291.

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