Yahoo Inc. chairman Terry Semel stepped down as chief executive on Monday, ending 18 months of turmoil for failing to compete with online search giant Google.
The battle not only demoralised Yahoo! shareholders but also disappointed many of its own employees. Last week, disgruntled investors called for a management overhaul at the annual shareholders' meeting.
The Sunnyvale-based company appointed co-founder Jerry Yang, 38, as its new CEO and named Susan Decker as its president. Decker was recently promoted from Yahoo's chief financial officer to oversee the company's advertising operations.
Semel 64, a former Warner Brothers executive will remain chairman in a non-executive role after spending the past six years running the company.
Media reports suggest that Semel's biggest mistake was not appreciating early enough the importance of Internet searching and particularly of Google. It also faced growing pressure from a crop of young rivals like MySpace and Facebook. To counter Google Semel spent more than $2 billion to buy Inktomi, a company that made a Web search system, and Overture Services, which sold advertising on search pages. While these deals helped Yahoo to grab the second spot in searches, it was unable to keep pace with its young rival.