Background and Challenges

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-01-13 Print this article Print

Yang: back to being "Chief Yahoo"

Yang announced his resignation as CEO Nov. 17 after facing months of grueling pressure from shareholders and employees and an unsuccessful hostile takeover attempt by Microsoft.

In an e-mail to all Yahoo employees on that day, Yang, who had been encountering a great deal of criticism in the wake of the botched merger with Microsoft, said he would return to his former role as so-called Chief Yahoo when a new CEO was named.

A substantial number of Yahoo shareholders were in favor of accepting a $47 billion bid to sell the company to Microsoft in February 2008. But Yang and a majority of the board members were against it, and they prevailed.

Microsoft then returned with a smaller offer to buy Yahoo's crown jewel: its Internet search business, second in size, scope and income only to Google's. But Yahoo also turned that offer down.

Yang and the board faced a number of unhappy shareholders at Yahoo's annual meeting on Aug. 1, 2008, but were steadfast in their desire to remain independent from the world's largest software company.

If Yahoo had been stronger financially in the last two years, it's possible Yang could have won out and remained as CEO. But the company stock value has dropped from a recent high of $33.63 in October 2007 to $19.80 on Aug. 1, 2008. The stock continues to slip; it closed at $12.10 on Jan. 13.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has since said although there still might be a chance for a deal, he doesn't believe it will ever happen.

Entrepreneur Carl Icahn, who owns about $1 billion worth of Yahoo stock-almost 5 percent of the company-tried to facilitate the Microsoft takeover over a six-month period. As part of a deal to placate him, the Yahoo board offered Icahn and two people of his choice seats on the board.

Icahn is expected to join the board in January.

More Bartz background

In her 32-year career thus far, Bartz in addition to her tenure at Autodesk has led global operations, engineering, sales and marketing organizations for large technology and engineering companies that include Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation and 3M.

Bartz has served as lead independent director of Cisco Systems since 2005 and has been a board director of that company since 1996. She also currently serves on the boards of directors of Intel and NetApp. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin.

Yahoo will announce its quarterly financial results on Jan. 27. Go here for more information.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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