Yahoo's co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang has announced he is resigning from all his posts at the company to pursue other interests.

"As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo leadership team, to guide Yahoo into an exciting and successful future," Yang wrote in a letter to board chairman, Roy Bostock.

Yang was instrumental in the internet firms rise during the late 1990's and early 2000's, but has been widely criticized for his refusal of Microsoft's purchase offer of $33 a share, instead siding with internal projections that suggested the company would outgrow the value the Redmond-based software giant was prepared to pay. Many view that ill-fated decision as the starting point of the once dominant company's downfall.

"My time at Yahoo, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo," Yang wrote.

Scott Thompson, former president of PayPal who was hired by the firm last year has been appointed as Yahoo's new CEO. "I am grateful for the warm welcome and support Jerry provided me during my early days here," Thompson said. "Jerry has great confidence in the future of Yahoo, and I share his confidence in the enormous potential of Yahoo in the days ahead."

"We appreciate Jerry's comments and share his enthusiasm for the company's prospects," said Board Chairman, Roy Bostock. "With Scott Thompson leading an outstanding team of Yahoos to deliver innovative products and an engaging customer experience, Yahoo's future is bright."

With Yang's departure the company is likely trying to send the message of a fresh start, hoping to rejuvenate the brand and distance itself from the past decisions by its co-founder as much as possible.

If this is really the case it is quite possible other senior staff and board members may well walk the same path in the near future as they face mounting criticism from shareholders and financial analysts for the company's troubles. Yahoo has declined requests for more information regarding Yang's announcement.