Yahoo’s Jerry Yang, an icon in the search business and a focus of shareholder angst after refusing the Microsoft deal earlier this year, is stepping down as CEO. The move is not a surprise, given that it now appears that there is no way shareholders could hope to recover what they lost when Microsoft was turned away.
Since the decision, which resulted in a board change led by Icahn, Yang has failed to offer any constructive steps to building value as an independent company. The board is likely to at least consider Susan Decker, the president, as successor. We believe this would be a mistake; she might well prove simply a proxy for Yang’s views.