Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo, has resigned from the company’s board of directors today, and from all other positions—effective immediately.
From Yang’s letter to the board:
“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! 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.”
Activist shareholders have called for his resignation, concerned in part that Yang was on the board while he was exploring ways to take the company private. Yang also has stepped back before, resigning as CEO—but always keeping a connection.
This time, Yang is severing all ties with the company he and David Filo founded in 1995 as students at Stanford. He has been on the board since 1995, was CEO from 2007-2009.
Yang has come under fire from investors over the years. In 2008 when Yang was CEO, Yahoo rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from Microsoft worth about $44 billion. Its share price was subsequently pummeled by the global financial crisis and its current market value stands at about $20 billion.