Yahoo's Semel Leaving Board, Bostock New Chair

Yahoo nonexecutive Chairman Terry Semel is leaving the board, the Internet company said Thursday, announcing the end of its formal ties with the ex-CEO credited with reviving the company and then losing touch.

Yahoo!'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel.
Yahoo!'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel.

Long-term board member Roy Bostock becomes nonexecutive chairman, as of Thursday, Yahoo said.

Semel, replaced as CEO last June, was a long-time Hollywood studio executive who took charge of the money-losing Internet company after the technology stock bubble burst, and was credited with helping focus Yahoo on its advertising and media businesses.

But he faced heavy criticism for failing to move faster to meet both rival Google's challenge in Web search and advertising and, more recently, the rise of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

"Semel did a good job when he was there -- for a while," Global Crown Capital analyst Martin Pyykkonen said.

"But he just lost touch. We all got tired of his promise at an analyst meeting several years ago -- repeated many times over -- that 'The best is yet to come,"' Pyykkonen said.

Semel, a native of Brooklyn, New York, ran Yahoo from 2001 to 2007, taking on Silicon Valley after a 24-year career in Hollywood, where he rose to be co-head of Warner Bros Studios.

"With the company moving forward under new leadership, I believe this is an appropriate time for me to step down from the board," Semel said in a statement.

At Yahoo he was known for mentoring other executives, including co-founder Jerry Yang who took the CEO job last June, and President Susan Decker.

But some investors would not forgive him for the declines of the company that led to a major restructuring.

"I am surprised that you didn't apologize for the last three years of performance," activist shareholder Eric Jackson said at the company's annual meeting last year, shortly before Semel stepped down as CEO.