The Yahoo co-founder will get back to his former position as Chief Yahoo once a new CEO is found. Yahoo is currently working with Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, to find Yang’s successor.

"From founding this company to guiding its growth into a trusted global brand that is indispensable to millions of people, I have always sought to do what is best for our franchise," said Jerry Yang. "Having set Yahoo! on a new, more open path, the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and our global talent to a new leader. I will continue to focus on global strategy and to do everything I can to help Yahoo! realize its full potential and enhance its leading culture of technology and product excellence and innovation."

Yang took over the CEO position from Terry Semel in June 2007 and led Yahoo through several important changes: he transitioned the internet giant an open platform model, as well as improved the alignment of costs and revenues.

Still, Yang was no longer desirable at the top since he refused the $44.6 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft on the ground that Yahoo was worth much more. Since then, it all backfired at Yang, with Yahoo’s shares slipping down and the advertising deal with Google (Yang’s counter-offer) ending up on the canceled panel.

At this time, Carl Icahn must be already thinking about whom to back up in the race for the CEO seat.