Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Semel out as Yahoo! CEO

Yahoo!, the No. 2 search firm that has struggled in its battle with Google, said Monday that Terry Semel was out as chief executive officer, to be succeeded by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.

Susan Decker, who heads a relatively new group that deals with the company's advertisers and publishers, and until recently was also chief financial officer, was promoted to president.

Shares of Yahoo surged 3 percent in heavy trading on Nasdaq Monday as speculation mounted that Semel might step down - and the stock rallied another 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Wall Street seemed to welcome the promotion of Yang since he is viewed as being far more tech-savvy than Semel, who had a background in traditional media before joining Yahoo.

"Hopefully, Jerry still has much of his entrepreneurial zeal. He is much geekier and you really need to be that rare combination of a technologist and a marketer. Is it the perfect choice? I don't know if it's a perfect choice but it's a good choice," said Kevin Lee, executive chairman of a search marketing firm based in New York.

Last week, Semel faced questions from several disappointed investors at the company's annual shareholder meeting about the Yahoo's strategy as well as the fact that Semel, despite only receiving a salary of $1 last year, had a compensation package worth more than $70 million due to stock grants.More>>