Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Asian American Heritage Celebration: Notable Person

Jerry Yang (simplified Chinese: 杨致远; traditional Chinese: 楊致遠; pinyin: Yáng Zhìyuǎn; born November 6, 1968) is a Chinese American entrepreneur and the co-founder, former CEO Yahoo! Inc.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan on November 6, 1968, Yang moved to San Jose, California at the age of eight, with his mother and brother. His father died when Yang was two. He claimed that despite his mother being an English teacher, he only knew one English word (shoe) on his arrival. Mastering the English language in three years, he was placed into an AP English class.

Yang graduated from Sierramont Middle School, and Piedmont Hills High School, then went on to receive his B.S. & M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

While he studied in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, he co-created in April 1994 with David Filo an Internet website consisting of a directory of other websites called "Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web". It was renamed "Yahoo!" Yahoo became so popular that Yang and Filo realized the business potential and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. They took a leave of absence and postponed their doctoral programs indefinitely.

Yahoo! started off as a web portal with a web directory providing an extensive range of products and services for online activities. It is now one of the leading internet brands and has the most trafficked network on the internet.

On November 17, 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jerry Yang would step down as CEO as soon as the company found a replacement. He had been criticized by many investors for not increasing revenues and the Yahoo! stock price.

On January 13, 2009, Yahoo! named Silicon Valley veteran Carol Bartz as its new chief executive, effectively replacing Yang. Yang regained his former position as "Chief Yahoo" and remains on Yahoo's board of directors.

Yang is currently on the Board of Directors of Alibaba, the Asian Pacific Fund, Cisco and Yahoo! Japan, and is also on the Stanford University Board of Trustees.

In February 2007, Jerry Yang and his wife, Akiko Yamazaki, gave USD $75 million to Stanford University, their alma mater, the bulk of which went to building the "Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building.”