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eKstreme

Terry Semel Steps Down From Y!

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A move that has been predicted by many for a long time, and hoped for by other for probably longer: Terry Semel, Yahoo!'s CEO has stepped down, handing the position to Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang.

 

Terry was a great CEO after the dot.com bubble burst - the mere fact that the company still exists today is testimony to that. However, for all his good work, he's had a tough few years, presiding during some really bad moves by Yahoo!. This move has been a long time coming, but Jerry Yang being the replacement is a bit of a surprise.

 

More coverage: Yahoo!'s blog, offcial announcement, Search Engine Land.

 

So what do you think?

 

Pierre

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I don't have a clue :D

 

Why would Yang be a better CEO? I always find it a bit strange when the original owner returns and tries to do a better job than an "expert" (at business, at least). It seems to be working for Apple, though. Hmm. Is the feeling for the job at hand more important to a company than the things you learn at business-school?

 

John

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Well all the stockholders for some time have been watching Semel and Yahoo! as a company has been under performing for some time.

 

Yang brings in a new revitalization and possibly a very good move for Yahoo!. Since Yang has always been a cheerleader for Y! it could prove positive for rallying the troops and squashing some of the dissension and discontent Yahoo! has experienced in the last few years.

 

From a business stand point, Yang is probably not qualified to be a CEO since he's traditional just been a part of the hardware approval committee and in the cheerleader role. However, with Decker stepping up as President she could take on much of the dirty business work while Yang acts as the focal point on vision and strategy.

 

Those who I've talked to at Y! feel that this could be a good turn for the better and could bring Y! in the direction more inline with Google in the sense that the company will be more Engineering driven as opposed to the current Marketing / Media drivers.

 

Hopefully this also means that there will be more technical collaborations between Yahoo and partners... and also one could speculate that there would be a synergy with Google potentially down the line.

 

All this of course is just speculation and conjecture... but it makes for an interesting discussion.

 

I personally thing this is a great move for Y! and I think this could mark a big turn around for a very disjunct and torn company.

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Without knowing anything about the characters involved, if Yang pushes Yahoo! more towards technical excellence and away from marketing then I fear Y! is doomed. The Search business is entirely marketing. The customers have no real way of checking the technical excellence of the solutions on offer, so it's entirely a question of perception.

 

With Y! and MSN/Live so confused, I see no reason why Google shouldn't crush them all completely.

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Hmmm..

 

I like the move, if Decker is actually pulling the strings.

 

Yahoo has some interesting opportunities ahead of them and they need a topnotch executive to make it all work. But I think taking a step back to examine and reevaluate their vision is a good thing. If it will improve employee and investor morale at the same time, all the better.

 

Some of you may think that Google has the world locked up tight and Yahoo! may forever be an afterthought. Google really does seem to have the right stuff time and again; I love their moves into mobile, online apps, and customized homepages.

 

But Google, and the rest of the SERPS, are not even close to valhalla; a model that provides the right/best/complete answer instantly to everyone. Evolution continues, and that means opportunity, if you have the right vision, management, and funding.

 

Yahoo needed some change now. They may need more in another 12 months, but as long as they remain viable and generate revenue (ie dont sink the ship), the chaos surrounding change gives them the opportunity to refocus and restrategize.

 

-Jeff

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What would the first thing *you* would do at Yahoo if you had the chance? More marketing? More "gadgets" for the users? Stronger developer relations? Stronger integration of other companies and technologies (they have bought a few)? More towards advertising? More towards being a media-company?

 

I think there is a lot of potential at Yahoo - they have a lot of talented people and a lot of really great companies. I would hate for them to pull an "Ask"... The users need a strong competitor to Google, even if they do not go head-to-head on all issues.

 

John

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See, if what Y! needs is marketing, then Yang is the best person for this given he's been called cheerleader.

 

As for the first thing I would do if it were me, I would stem the talent bleed going on right now. Yahoo! has a lot of talented people who know the company and how to run it. To the outside world, we hear they are demoralized and jumping ship at every chance. That has to stop, and no doubt a lot of employees will now pause for a few months to give Yang a chance.

 

The second thing I would do is sign search deals with major sites. Who's powering Facebook's search? CNN? Yahoo! is making serious moves into the mobile sector, so signing deals with the likes of Orange and t-mobile and Vodafone would be essential next steps.

 

Thirdly, move into the enterprise more: The IBM/Y! free search engine cause a big splash when it was released and now we don't even know it exists. Push it. Hard.

 

Get some mindshare dangit! That's the key to Yahoo!'s future IMVHO.

 

Pierre

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I find this a surprising move by Yahoo. I thought they would have selected an experienced large company CEO with a proven track record.

 

I think Yang has youth going against him and clearly does not bring the experience of running and growing billion dollar public companies, as Semel did. Semel took Warner Brothers from $1B to $11B and, later, took Yahoo from less than $1B to it's current ~$7B.

 

But being young and in charge isn't a typical scenario for the top brass of publicly traded companies. Of the companies on Wall Street's Russell 2000 Index, there are just eight chiefs age 35 or under.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/leadership/2006/07/0...ungestceos.html

 

Who knows, I could be wrong. Hard to tell what strategic, visionary and leadership role he's played in Yahoo's success so far. Time and the numbers will tell.

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