Breaking: Yahoo's Terry Semel Quits

Terry Semel, CEO of Yahoo since 2001, has “resigned.” Co-founder Jerry Yang is the interim CEO, and Sue Decker has taken over as president.

The markets are happy and the stock is up sharply in after hours trading.

There is a back story here and we are digging to try and find it. The proper way for Semel to leave the company would be to announce his retirement and begin a search for a replacement. A sudden change like this signals that a lot of drama might be going on behind the scenes. This will bring the vultures in to speculate on Yahoo’s future. One article at CNBC has a bunch of potential ways of carving the company up for competitors.

It’s too early to have proper perspective on Semel’s place in Silicon Valley history. He certainly guided Yahoo through a very difficult time when he joined the company. But some observers have called him a failure from day one, noting that Google has grown its shareholder value 21 times more efficiently than Yahoo.

Yang says says some nice things about Semel in a blog post . “The Internet is still young,” he says, and “opportunities ahead are tremendous.”

We’ll see if Yahoo will be carved up or merged with Microsoft, Google, AOL or someone else, or if the company has the vision and will to push forward and find relevance again.

On a personal note, I am glad to see Semel gone. The valley will take over Hollywood. Not the other way around.