Jerry Yang helped start Yahoo while a student at Stanford....

Jerry Yang helped start Yahoo while a student at Stanford. (Nov. 5, 2008) Credit: AP

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang is leaving the struggling Internet company, as it tries to revive its revenue growth and win over disgruntled shareholders under a new leader.

The surprise departure, announced Tuesday, comes just two weeks after Yahoo Inc. hired former PayPal executive Scott Thompson as its CEO.

Thompson is the fourth chief executive in less than five years to try to turn Yahoo around.

Yang, 43, endorsed Thompson in his resignation from Yahoo's board of directors. He had been on Yahoo's board since the company's 1995 inception.

"My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life," Yang wrote in a letter to Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock. "However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo." The letter didn't say what Yang plans to do next. He doesn't need to work, thanks to the fortune he has amassed since he began working on Yahoo in a trailer at Stanford University with fellow graduate student David Filo. Yang is worth about $1.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine's latest estimates.

Yang is also stepping down from the boards of China's Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. Yahoo is negotiating to sell its stakes in both of the Asian companies as part of its efforts to placate investors. The deal could be worth as much as $17 billion, but it still faces a series of potentially daunting obstacles before it gets done.

Although a popular figure among Yahoo employees, Yang alienated the company's shareholders by turning down a chance to sell Yahoo to Microsoft Corp. for $47.5 billion, or $33 per share, in May 2008. Yahoo shares gained 47 cents to $15.90 in extended trading after Yang's decision was announced.

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access