Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang announced his resignation, sparking new hope that Microsoft may consider another bid on the Internet company. Yang will stay on board until Yahoo finds a suitable replacement.
Yang's emotional attachment to the company he co-founded in 1995 is one of the reasons he balked at a $47.5 billion takeover offer from Microsoft six months ago. The same devotion finally led Yang to conclude he should step aside as chief executive, as the company seeks to bolster its depressed stock price and sagging earnings in an economic downturn that might prove even more wrenching than the dot-com bust of eight years ago.
Yang's surrendering of the CEO reins, announced Monday, won't occur until Yahoo finds a suitable replacement. The Silicon Valley company said it is interviewing candidates inside and outside Yahoo in a search led by its chairman, Roy Bostock, and the executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles.
It didn't take long for analysts to conclude Yang's departure will clear the way for a major overhaul that could culminate in Yahoo's sale to Microsoft — something Yang refused to do in May, to the great irritation of shareholders.
"We still believe Microsoft will eventually own Yahoo," UBS analyst Benjamin Schachter wrote in a research note late Monday. "Jerry moving out of the CEO role may accelerate this."