10 Company Founders Who Got the Boot

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- On Tuesday, Yahoo! ( YHOO) announced that Jerry Yang, a co-founder of the company in 1995, had resigned from its board.

Did Yang step down by his own choice or was he pushed? That's the story yet to be fully told.

The timing of the announcement will of course lead to speculation, as it comes two weeks after Yahoo named Scott Thompson, a former PayPal executive, as CEO. While Thompson pledges a return to profitability, Yang has been seen by many investors as letting his personal vision and attachment to the company stall necessary restructuring moves. As such, news of his resignation sent shares upward.

In addition to departing Yahoo's board, Yang surrenders a similar post at Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group, setting the stage that those assets may be sold. Yang's exit could open the door for a broader restructuring of the parent company and attract otherwise gun-shy investors.

If Yang was "encouraged" to leave, it won't be the first time his own company has rejected him. His refusal to accept a $47.5 billion takeover bid by Microsoft ( MSFT) led to a chorus of critics who derided him for putting his personal attachment to the company over what was in its best financial interests. He was replaced by the tough-talking Carol Bartz.

Yang is far from the only company creator to find themselves on the outs. Here are some other famous founders forced to hit the bricks:

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