Widely recognized as a visionary and pioneer in the Internet technology sector, Jerry Yang is the co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo! Inc. Born in Taiwan, Yang's family moved to the U.S. when he was ten. In 1994 Yang was studying for his Ph.D. when he started working with another student named David Filo. Together the pair launched an Internet website called "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," which consisted of a directory of other websites. As it grew in popularity they renamed it "Yahoo! Inc."
By 1996, after receiving millions of dollars in funding, Yahoo! went public with 49 employees. Yang served as CEO of the company for over a decade, playing a key role in a number of initiatives, including two of the biggest investments in the internet: Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group. In 2012, Yang left the company and founded AME Cloud Ventures, a venture fund that invests in seed-stage to later-stage tech companies that build infrastructure and value chains around data. He is listed in the “25 Most Influential men on the Web” and the 140th on Forbes “400 Richest Americans” list. Yang currently sits on the boards of Alibaba, Workday, and Lenovo. He also serves as director of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and a trustee of Dunhuang Foundation (USA). On top of that, he previously served on the boards of Cisco Systems and Asian Pacific Fund of San Francisco. In 2020, Yang was featured in "Asian Americans," a PBS documentary series on Asian American history.
Like so many Silicon Valley success stories, Yang's first brush with cutting edge technologies occurred on the Stanford University campus. As a student, he made ends meet by juggling on-campus jobs, including a stint as a book sorter and shelver in the university library. But this did not impede his breakneck academic pace. In four years at Stanford Yang completed both his Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in electrical engineering. Just as important, he planned to stay and complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree. But after developing the prototype of Yahoo!, while still on Stanford’s campus, Yang officially left the program.
Yang and his wife, Akiko Yamazaki, have a long history of supporting Stanford. Most notably, the two pledged $75 million to the university in 2007, $50 million of which went to the construction of the Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building. Yang and Yamazaki have also supported many professorships, fellowships and scholarships. In 2021, Yang was elected chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees. Previously, he served twice on the board of trustees, the first time from 2005 to 2015. He joined the board again in October 2017 and has served as its vice chair. In addition, he currently serves on numerous Stanford boards and committees, including the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) Advisory Council, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program Advisory Board, the Cantor Arts Center Director’s Advisory Committee, and the School of Engineering’s Accelerator Task Force.