Terry Semel, who was brought in to turnaround Yahoo after the Internet bust, has stepped down from the top job.
The former Hollywood exec looked like a master initially — when Yahoo’s revenue and profits surged after 2001. There’s no doubt Semel’s steady hand helped. Soon, however, it became clear Yahoo’s performance had more to do with the boom in Yahoo’s search business than with Semel’s guidance. As Google has left Yahoo further and further behind, shareholders like Eric Jackson have increased their criticism.
Jackson wrote this post for VentureBeat more than six months ago, demanding that the board fire Semel. We’re not sure if Jackson’s ensuing campaign has anything to do with Semel’s announced departure today, but his group has been relentless (here’s his blog).
Semel’s massive compensation became a target for criticism. He also appeared out of touch. Underling execs such as Brad Garlinghouse called out for action, producing the famous “Peanut Butter memo” about Yahoo’s malaise.
Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s co-founder, steps in as CEO.
Sue Decker, the former CFO, becomes president. Semel stays non-executive chairman.
Here are more details from Bloomberg news.