The Yahoo board of directors apparently needs to spends some time getting to know itself. Today’s WSJ contains two contradictory versions from unnamed insiders about how Terry Semel’s departure happened so suddenly:
Exact details of how Mr. Semel came to step down remain in dispute. Mr. Semel formally notified Yahoo directors during an emergency board meeting conducted by telephone Sunday, said one person familiar with the matter. Some board members were surprised by the timing, said this person, adding that the board has discussed plans for Mr. Semel’s succession at each meeting over the past year. This person said Mr. Yang’s position wasn’t designed to be only an interim role, and that “he’s going to be in that job longer than people think.”
Another person familiar with events said directors conferred off and on informally several times last week before concluding Friday that Mr. Semel should give up the CEO post because Yahoo was “not catching up with Google.” However, this individual added that directors currently intend to conduct a search for a new chief executive. Ms. Decker “has the inside track as the internal candidate, but there will be external candidates as well.”
Semel jumped; Semel was pushed. Yang’s a long-timer; Yang’s a placeholder. Yeesh. No-one parses such speciousness with more savagery than Nick, so go read him on the subject. He calls it a “botched coup”.
As a related aside, Yahoo’s stock is understandably now down after an opening bounce. The company has got itself in a box here.