Jerry Yang has left Yahoo to pursue "other interests."
In a rather short and unexpected press release, Yahoo said on Tuesday that 43-year-old co-founder Jerry Yang has resigned from the Board of Directors and all other positions within the company, effective immediately. He has also resigned from the Boards of Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group Holding Limited, also effective immediately.
Yang co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in 1995 with David Filo. He served as a member of the Board of Directors since March 1995, and as Chief Executive Officer from June 2007 to January 2009. The company went public in 1996.
"My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life," Yang said in a letter to Yahoo Board Chairman Roy Bostock. "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."
Yahoo announced earlier this month that former PayPal president Scott Thompson would serve as the company's new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment became effective as of January 9, 2012 as previous CEO Tim Morse shifted back into his former Chief Financial Officer position. Yahoo said Thompson would also serve on the company's Board of Directors starting on January 9 as well. On Tuesday Thompson said that he was very grateful for the warm welcome and support Jerry provided during his early days at the company.
"Jerry leaves behind a legacy of innovation and customer focus for this iconic brand, having shaped our culture by fostering a spirit of innovation that began 17 years ago and continues to grow even stronger today," Thompson said. "Jerry has great confidence in the future of Yahoo!, and I share his confidence in the enormous potential of Yahoo! in the days ahead."
Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board, said the entire Board would respect Yang's decision and miss his "remarkable perspective, vision and wise counsel."
Yang caused waves with shareholders back in 2008 by turning down a chance to sell Yahoo in its entirety to Microsoft for $47.5 billion USD (or $33 per share). At the time, he was serving as CEO, but shareholders were so annoyed by his performance that Yang stepped aside and allowed Carol Bartz to take over. Since the Microsoft buyout denial, shares haven't exceeded $20 USD. In fact, stocks gained a whole 49 cents to $15.92 in extended trading after Yahoo officially announced Yang's resignation on late Tuesday.