Hey look everybody, Yahoo just appointed a new CEO! Don't worry if you missed it or are otherwise preoccupied to pay attention, there's a good chance you'll get another opportunity to see Yahoo anoint a new chief. With all due respect to Scott Thompson, the former PayPal executive who's now in Yahoo's hot seat, he's Yahoo's fourth CEO in less than five years. How's that for job security?
To be fair, the task of turning Yahoo's fortunes around is monumental, not to mention placating increasingly frustrated share holders. It wears on you. So much in fact that Thompson's hiring is overshadowed by the departure of Jerry Yang, the 43-year-old Yahoo co-founder who also had a stint as CEO of the company he helped create, and who has decided to sever ties completely after 17 years of service.
"My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo," Yang wrote in a letter to Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock. "As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo leadership team, to guide Yahoo into an exciting and successful future."
Yang served as CEO from from June 2007 to January 2009, during which time he nearly sold the company to Microsoft. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, some who have questioned his role at the company and whether or not personal feelings sometimes got in the way of his decision making.
Regardless, Yahoo is Thompson's problem responsibility now, and he's taking over at the end of a 17-year era. Yang's departure is a double-edged sword. On one hand, Thompson might find it easier to make decisions without Yang lingering about, but at the same time, all eyes are now squarely on him, and him alone.