Yahoo! just announced that its chief technology officer, Farzad Nazem, is retiring. It’s a surprising move in one sense because Zod, as he was known to engineers at Yahoo, only last December was appointed the leader of one of Yahoo’s three groups, the Technology Group, as part of CEO Terry Semel’s big reorganization.

When we wrote a recent story about the poor morale among some Yahoos amid a continuing flow of engineer and executive departures, Yahoo insisted that the people who have left were largely not upper-level execs. That clearly just changed at least in this particular case. And it’s a sign that Yahoo continues to search for ways to step out of the shadow of Google.

Zod commands considerable respect among Yahoos, but some in the company also think it could use some new blood and energy on the tech side. Despite some interesting initiatives in the past year—including Pipes, Yahoo Answeres, and most of all the launch of its ad platform Panama in February—it has trailed Google and innumerable startups in developing hot new services.

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