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Semel resigns as Yahoo! CEO

Frightened by angry stockholders

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Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel has resigned in the face of ongoing criticism from stock holders. He will be replaced by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, with former CFO Susan Decker taking over as president of the company.

Last week, at Yahoo!’s annual meeting, Semel weathered several angry questions from shareholders, but an effort to restructure his $71.7m compensation package was voted down. Yahoo!’s stock price has dropped 10 percent in the past year, and the company continues to trail Google in the ever-important Web search market. According to the latest figures from Hitwise.com, Yahoo! accounts for only 21 per cent of Web searches, with Google at 65 per cent.

After six years in the CEO job, Semel will remain with the company as a non-executive chairman. In a statement released by the company, the former Warner Brothers CEO said that his decision to resign came out of ongoing discussions with the Yahoo! board about "the importance of ensuring a smooth succession in Yahoo!'s senior leadership."

"As we discussed my future goals and plans, I was clear in telling the Board of my desire to take a step back sooner rather than later," he said. "I believe Jerry and Sue, with their superb talents and intense dedication to Yahoo! and its people, are the perfect combination to carry us forward. This is the time for new executive leadership, with different skills and strengths, to step in and drive the company to realize its full potential - it is the right thing to do, and the right time is now." Yahoo!'s stock price is up five percent in after-hours trading.®

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