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On Terry Semel

Posted by: Jon Fine on June 19, 2007

I didn’t understand why Terry Semel stayed on as long as he did. He had more money than he could possibly know what to do with, he was in his mid-sixties, and, if I may echo Kara Swisher, I often saw a malaise and fatigue evident whenever he appeared public or semiprivate esettings.

This notion, of course, is ridiculous. Moguls don’t leave because of logic. They leave when they damn well want to, and they have a hard time letting go. Which is how you have this strange spectacle of Semel insisting he suddenly decided to shift from player to coach a week after he told a shareholder at the annual meeting that, yes, he did have the fire in the belly, that he did want it badly enough, still, whatever “it” was.

It’s worth remembering that the company was in much worse shape when he came in than it is now. But, still. I go back to something former COO Dan Rosenzweig said at lasy year’s American Magazine Conference. A billion peopelon the Internet, half of them come to Yahoo each month, and 200 million or so are registered users.

If those are the numbers, than what is the problem?

That Terry couldn’t figure that out or answer it accounts for what finally happened yesterday.



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