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Yahoo's co-founder Jerry Yang, who started the company 17 years ago, announced Tuesday he is retiring from the board and from all his other positions, reports MarketWatchThe Wall Street Journal's Shira Ovide notes that Yang has seen a lot of criticism of late and there was rumor that some investors wanted him gone. Still, the announcement seems to be taking most tech watchers by surprise. ("Holy big news," Ovide writes.) We'll see how much the announcement actually impacts the day-to-day at the company but Boing Boing's Xeni Jardin says the announcement "is non-news to some, but feels like another 'end-of-an-era' milestone for those of us who worked in the Valley earlier on." Yang's statement offered as a reason only that "the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!" The company has followed through on the earlier announcement that former PayPal chief Scott Thompson will take over as CEO, and Thompson had nice words for Yang in the company's statement, as did others. 

Read the whole statement from Yahoo! below:

Yahoo! Inc., the premier digital media company, today announced that Jerry Yang has resigned from its Board of Directors and all other positions with the company, effective today. In addition, Yang resigned from the Boards of Yahoo Japan Corporation and Alibaba Group Holding Limited, effective today.

In a letter to the Yahoo! Board Chairman Roy Bostock, Yang wrote:

“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 co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in 1995 with David Filo and served as a member of the Board of Directors since March 1995 and as Chief Executive Officer from June 2007 to January 2009. The Company went public in 1996.

“Jerry Yang is a visionary and a pioneer, who has contributed enormously to Yahoo! during his many years of service,” said Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board. “It has been a pleasure to work with Jerry. His unique strategic insights have been invaluable. He has always remained focused on the best interests of Yahoo!’s stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and more than 700 million users. And while I and the entire Board respect his decision, we will miss his remarkable perspective, vision and wise counsel. On behalf of the Board, we thank Jerry and wish him all the very best in his future endeavors.”

Bostock concluded, “We appreciate Jerry’s comments and share his enthusiasm for the company’s prospects. With Scott Thompson leading an outstanding team of Yahoos to deliver innovative products and an engaging customer experience, Yahoo!’s future is bright.”

“I am grateful for the warm welcome and support Jerry provided me during my early days here,” said Scott Thompson, Yahoo!’s Chief Executive Officer. “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.”


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