Would the last person left at Yahoo please turn off the lights? We've just learned that Zod Nazem, an 11-year-veteran of the Sunnyvale internet company, is leaving the company. That's not a complete surprise. Nazem was one of the largest insider sellers of Yahoo stock, and the company's engineering operations have come under increasing criticism. Terry Semel, in an email to Yahoo staff obtained by Valleywag and published after the jump, said Yahoo's chief techie, widely known as Zod, had been on his way out for months. But just begs the question: given all that notice, why would Semel have to tap Jerry Yang, who hasn't had an executive role in years, as interim head of tech? Of the three key positions under Semel — sales, product and tech — two are open. Terry Semel is having as much difficulty hiring external execs as George Bush in his lame-duck phase; and, if Kara Swisher's right, it can't even persuade internal candidates to step up to top jobs. If Yahoo's board hasn't been moved by the company's eclipse by Google, surely this management vacuum will prod them to accelerate Semel's retirement.
It is with mixed emotions that I'm announcing the retirement of our
Chief Technology Officer, Zod Nazem after more than 11 years with
Yahoo!. While I'm thrilled for him that he is taking a well-deserved
break after 26 years in this fast-paced industry, I will miss Zod's
partnership, leadership, vision and most importantly his dedication to
this company and our customers.
Over the past decade, Zod grew his team of engineers from seven in
1996 to thousands who work to constantly push the technical bar and
contribute to a world-class engineering organization that is leading
the Web evolution. In his tenure here as CTO, he has seen the company
through several highs and lows, managed to maintain focus and vision,
and led one of the most stable technology organizations in the
Several months ago Zod and I began discussing his desire to retire. He
remained on board to help see Yahoo! through some key milestones
including, the company and subsequent Technology Group re-design
efforts as well as the critical launch of Panama. Zod and I agreed
that during this process, it was important to have an engaged leader
and that he would not retire prior to the completion of these
projects. Now that they are all well under way and there is a solid
tech leadership team in place, Zod felt that it was an appropriate
time to announce his decision to retire.
Effective immediately, Jerry Yang has agreed to step in as the interim
executive sponsor of the group and will work closely with David Filo
and the technology leadership team to continue to drive the technology
strategy forward. We will begin an immediate search for a new CTO.
While Zod's last official day will be in early-June, he will continue
to assist Jerry and me in the search and transition for a new CTO. In
the meantime, I'm confident that Jerry will be a strong interim leader
as he has worked closely with Zod and his leadership team to help
develop and drive our technology strategy over the last decade.
Please join me in wishing Zod all the best in his future endeavors and
thanking him for his tireless efforts and contributions to Yahoo!. His
legacy lives on and he will permanently be a part of this company's