After a year of dwindling market share and shareholder turmoil, Internet giant Yahoo! finally took dramatic action today, removing its CEO and instating company co-founder Jerry Yang as its new leader. Yang will be helped by new president Susan Decker, who was once seen as the heir-apparent to ousted CEO Terry Semel.
Yahoo!, once a darling of the Internet world, has fallen on hard times as its faster-moving competitor, Google, has gobbled up market share and profits at its expense. As a result, Google, and not Yahoo!, is now the dominant and most-often-visited Internet site, and Yahoo!'s stock price has plummeted 30 percent since the end of 2005. Not surprisingly, morale at Yahoo! is low, and employees are leaving the company to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Semel, who had run the company for 6 years, will step aside and continue helping the company in a non-executive role. Semel will not receive a severance package, though he's stockpiled a $450 million fortune since joining Yahoo! in 2001.
Many analysts believe Yahoo!'s moves today are the prelude to a sale of the company, and Microsoft infamously examined a merger or Yahoo! buyout a year ago. But Yang denied the buyout rumors and said Yahoo! would remain independent.