Playtime Is Over For Chief Yahoo

jerry yang

If you Google “Wean a Baby from its Bottle” you learn one important fact.   The bottle must go.  

You can do it fast or you can do it slow, but in the end the baby has to stop the suckling.   That is the nature of progress. 

Someone needed to tell that to Jerry Yang a long time ago.   As a co-founder of Yahoo, he had a hand in developing one of the early and successful internet companies, but then moved from rightfully calling Yahoo his baby, to becoming the baby.  

Jerry Yang turned into L Enfant Terible.   He wanted his bottle, and he wanted his way.  

When, in 2008, Microsoft (MSFT) came knocking on the door, with 47 Billion dollars in hand, even though Yahoo (YHOO) had just come off of a terrible quarter, did Jerry jump at the opportunity to provide shareholder value?   

He didn’t. 

Instead, our little Jerry turned the offer down, and (as the rumour goes) spent the weekend  in gleeful celebration that the adults had not been able to swipe his precious bottle from his hand.

Immediately thereafter, Jerry tried to get a partnership going with Google (GOOG).    But that opportunity was squandered as well when Jerry’s comments regarding the unfair advantage that a Google/Yahoo partnership would have, were made known to Justice Department regulators.  The DOJ advised all parties that they would endeavour to block the deal, so Google walked away.   And the stock came tumbling down once more.    

Next, Jerry crawled back  Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, to ask for  another buyout offer.  This time, the door was slammed in little Jerry’s face.   

Ultimately, these antics, and perhaps others not know to the press, got Jerry fired from the position of CEO — but Yahoo was not rid of him yet. He retained the title “Chief Yahoo” 

When Carol Bartz was ousted  Jerry reappeared as company spokesperson to say the company was not for sale (“Mine!  Mine!”) Shortly thereafter, Jerry backtracked

reassuring employees in an email that one of the options was to sell the company, but it would take several months.  During that time, he told them, a search would produce a new CEO.

Then rumours last week that Jerry Yang was back at Yahoo head quarters making decisions again brought  the worst nightmare for shareholders .The idea that the baby and his bottle were still firmly entrenched sent shareholder mood and the stock  price lower fearing once again Jerry would squash any hopes of a buy out.    Hope dimmed among the adults hovering outside the door of Jerry Yang’s nursery.   

What, the shareholders reasonably wondered, was he thinking.

However, like I said, you can wean a baby slowly, or you can do it fast.  Time is finally running out for Jerry Yang.   Adults are about to take charge.

Silver Lake Partners, Jack Ma from Ali Baba and others have seen enough.  Tyrants, tantrums and Enfant Teribles have no place in Corporate America.

When a company goes public, management and the Board of Directors have an obligation and duty to unlock shareholder value.  

Jerry, in his own, self-absorbed world, never understood that concept.   

Consequently, market forces finally came to bear.   After years of Yahoo management ignoring their obligations to shareholder now it is time for Jerry Yang to be weaned from Yahoo itself’  Maybe Jerry will finally grow up or maybe he will just go away.  Either option can only be good for the future of Yahoo.

It is the end of Jerry Yang.

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