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Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang poses for a photo in front of the Yahoo booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in this Jan. 7 (By Paul Sakuma, AP)

Yahoo CEO and founder Jerry Yang to step down
By Jon Swartz and Jefferson Graham USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Jerry Yang will step down as CEO of the Internet company he helped found, Yahoo said late Monday.

Yang, 40, took over as chief executive at the request of Yahoo's board in June 2007 to lead the company through a strategic overhaul. But the path was bumpy — especially after Yahoo spurned a $47.5 billion takeover bid by Microsoft, and a potential online-ad partnership with Google fizzled.

Yang will remain CEO until a replacement is found and will continue to serve on the board. He had been in discussions with the 11-member board of directors for "some time" about the move, Yahoo spokesman Brad Williams said.

"I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise," Yang said in a statement. "I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo realize its full potential." He was unavailable for an interview.

Yahoo's board has hired executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to look for both internal and external candidates for CEO, Williams said.

A new Yahoo CEO faces plenty of challenges, industry analysts say.

Yahoo's earnings have eroded for three years, leading to the announced layoffs of about 1,500 workers last month.

"Yahoo has nowhere to go but up," says Chris Winfield, president of 10e20, a New York firm that helps small businesses with online marketing campaigns. "You have a site that's one of the top Web properties, used by over 100 million people daily, yet it's perceived to be floundering. This is a great fresh start."

Charlene Li, founder of consulting firm Altimeter Group, says Yang's problem wasn't strategy but communication. "The company has a lot going for it. The next CEO has to be a really good communicator who can get everyone fired up."

A Google-Yahoo deal was scuttled amid Justice Department questions over antitrust issues. The two Internet powers commanded 78% of the Web search market in September, according to market researcher ComScore.

The deal, which would have allowed Google to sell advertising for some of Yahoo's online advertising space, could have improved Yahoo's cash flow $250 million to $450 million in the first year.

Yahoo shares rose 47 cents to $11.10 in after-hours trading on the news, which was released after the markets closed.

【2008/11/18 USA TODAY】報紙原貌

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