So all the talk turned out to be on the mark: Terry Semel’s stepping down at CEO of Yahoo, replaced by cofounder Jerry Yang. Sue Decker moves up to be President.
Despite all the talk about when Semel would leave, as Yahoo struggles to catch up with Google, I’m still surprised he’s leaving at this point. For all of Yahoo’s troubles, it’s hardly going down for the count just yet, so I would have thought Semel might be able to stick around as the new search ad system Panama starts to kick in and potentially close a bit of the gap with Google.
While Semel will remain a non-executive chairman, clearly the board must have lost patience with the slow progress. I sense that Yang has huge respect among the troops, and while he’s unproven as a manager of such a large company, Decker’s appointment as president signals that she will be picking up day-to-day executive duties. But I guess that fire in the belly didn’t agree with Semel.
Update: Here’s my take, though what Yahoo needs to do has been obvious for some time.