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Jerry Yang, Yahoo Co-Founder, Leaving The Company

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Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from his position on the Yahoo! Board of Directors, as well as his other positions on the boards of Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group Holding Limited.

From Yang's letter to the Yahoo! Board Chairman Roy Bostock, per a press release:

My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo! As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future.

Yang and David Filo founded the company in 1995. Yang has sat on the Yahoo board since March 1995 and served as CEO from June 2007 to January 2009, according to the press release.

On January 4 the struggling web giant appointed PayPal chief Scott Thompson as its new CEO, filling the void left when the company directors ousted Carol Bartz in September. According to the AP, Thompson is Yahoo's fourth CEO in less than five years.

Thompson praised Yang on Tuesday. "I am grateful for the warm welcome and support Jerry provided me during my early days here," said Thompson in a statement. "Jerry leaves behind a legacy of innovation and customer focus for this iconic brand, having shaped our culture by fostering a spirit of innovation that began 17 years ago and continues to grow even stronger today. Jerry has great confidence in the future of Yahoo!, and I share his confidence in the enormous potential of Yahoo! in the days ahead."

The New York Times refers to Yang's tenure as CEO as "turbulent." Writes the AP, "Although a popular figure among Yahoo employees, Yang had alienated the company's shareholders by turning down a $47.5 billion takeover offer from Microsoft Corp. in 2008."

AllThingsD's Kara Swisher speculates that more big changes may result if the company's Q4 earnings, to be announced on January 24, fall into the lower end of the projected range. She foresees a possible shakeup of the board, as well as the possibility of selling some of its shares back Alibaba Group and Softbank, Yahoo's major partners in Asia.

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