Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang's tenure as CEO of the troubled Internet giant took a key turn Nov. 17 when he announced his resignation under apparent pressure from the company's board of directors.
But Yang won't be leaving anytime soon. The company announced in a press release late in the day that Yang would remain in the CEO position until his successor is appointed and that he would stay on as a member of the board.
In an e-mail to all Yahoo employees, Yang, who had been under a great deal of criticism in the wake of a botched merger with Microsoft, said he will return to his former role as so-called Chief Yahoo when a new CEO is 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. But Yahoo also turned that offer down.
Yang and the board faced a number of unhappy shareholders at the company's annual meeting in San Jose Aug. 1, but they 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. The stock continues to slip; it closed at $10.63 on Nov. 17.
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 2009.