Another Reorg at Yahoo

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 29, 2007

Valleywag and AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher have the scoop and the New York Times the full story on what looks to be another management reorganization at Yahoo! President Sue Decker’s whole memo to the staff follows the page break. Cutting through the considerable weeds of corporatespeak, Executive VP of Global Sales Greg Coleman will be leaving, though not until next February. That’s a very long period of lame-duckiness, but one that jibes with Yahoo’s previous statements that the last reorg would take until next January to complete. Taking his place will be Hilary Schneider, a Decker ally who was executive VP of the Local Markets & Commerce Division and Yahoo! Publisher Network. She will head a new division called Global Partner Solutions, essentially all sales, marketing and business development. Jeff Weiner, executive VP of the Network Division, takes on Schneider’s previous duties as well. The intention is to make it easier for advertisers to reach potential customers not only on Yahoo but on the sites of partners such as eBay, Comcast, and a consortium of newspapers.

How all this will shake out still isn’t entirely clear to me. But it is clear that Yahoo’s latest reorg is meant to put Decker’s stamp on Yahoo’s future. And it’s also clearly part of cofounder and CEO Jerry Yang’s 100-day, no-sacred-cows drive to get Yahoo out of its doldrums. Rearranging deck chairs rarely solves problems in itslef, though. And this latest of several reorgs had better work well and quickly if Yahoo is to get its troops moving forward instead of watching their backs.

Here's Decker's memo:

Fellow Yahoo!s,

Over the past two months, Jerry and I and the rest of the management team have been taking a close look at our business - from top to bottom - and have been working hard to refine Yahoo!'s strategy and longer-term objectives. With that in mind, today I would like to tell you about a number of organizational changes that will help us achieve our goals to better serve our customers, accelerate the speed of making fast, smart decisions, and create cleaner lines of accountability across key leaders.

Building on the success that we have had in aligning our sales and distribution organizations around customers, rather than around advertising products like search and display, the two major changes we are announcing today are designed to take this to a higher level. They will also better align our resources and priorities focused on building key audiences.

First, we are placing responsibility for all of our “partners” – advertisers, agencies, resellers, publishers, ad networks, developers, or others -- in a new division called, Global Partner Solutions (GPS), under the leadership of Hilary Schneider. This new group will be charged with creating, delivering and coordinating global best practices for solutions to all of our partners. Furthermore, this unit will have direct responsibility for our U.S. go-to-market efforts (i.e., sales, marketing and business development) across:

*all ad formats, including search, display, video, mobile, listings, etc.
*all online marketing objectives, including brand, performance, promotional, and
*all customer types and sizes, including large enterprises, small online businesses, and local brick and mortar companies

Business development deals for Mobile and content the will continue to be led by Connected Life and the Yahoo! Network Division, respectively, and will work in close coordination with GPS.

Global Partner Solutions will be responsible for segmenting the business needs of our partners into actionable groups, understanding the needs of these segments and our ability to meet these needs, developing holistic business strategies to delight and surprise these segments, and executing on these strategies.

This approach will help us achieve faster, smarter decision-making and improved execution in support of better serving our customers. For example, we will be able to much more quickly identify and secure the ad inventory that best meets our advertisers’ objectives and partner with advertisers that best meet our publishing partners’ objectives as well as provide the most compelling experience to the vast audiences we reach.

Hilary is a strong executive with a tremendous track record of success – most recently in building the Yahoo! Publishing Network and spearheading the Newspaper Consortium deal – and I believe she is ideally suited to lead this effort.

The organizational changes that will accompany this change are to move Global Sales, the Online Channel, the Yahoo! Publisher Network, Corporate Partnerships and Hot Jobs under the single umbrella of Global Partner Solutions. Reporting to Hilary will be David Karnstedt – SVP, North American Sales; Jacki Kelley – VP, Sales Strategy; Dan Foehner – VP, Worldwide Sales Operations; Mark Rabe – VP, Cross Border Sales; Rich Riley – SVP, Online Channel Division; Todd Teresi – SVP, Yahoo! Publisher Network; Jim Schinella – SVP, Corporate Partnerships; and Jeff Kinder – SVP/GM, Hot Jobs.

As many of you know, Greg Coleman has been actively engaged in leading the integration of Yahoo!'s search and display ad sales teams and communicating the benefits of our more integrated capabilities to our major clients, who have been very receptive to this holistic approach. This integration is now well underway, and his leadership and expertise have helped enormously to effect a smooth transition. He and I have discussed for some time the need to further integrate Yahoo!'s capabilities in order to better support the needs of our key customer groups.

Therefore, with the decision to create this new Global Partner Solutions unit under Hilary's leadership, we mutually agreed that Greg would leave Yahoo! to pursue other opportunities. We are fortunate that he will continue to assist us in this transition through February, closely advising the team. We deeply appreciate Greg's contributions to Yahoo! over the past six and a half years, a period in which our advertising revenues have increased from $600 million a year to more than $6 billion, with substantial growth not only in the U.S. but in Europe, Asia and key emerging markets around the world. We wish him the best of luck in the years ahead.

The second major organizational change we are announcing today is that we are moving the properties in the Local Markets and Commerce Division (LMC), excluding HotJobs, from Hilary’s organization into the Yahoo! Network Division under Jeff Weiner’s strong leadership.”As a key member of the executive team, Jeff has held a number of pivotal roles at Yahoo! including SVP of Search and Marketplaces where he oversaw a number of these properties. As a result, the transition to Network should be seamless. Jen Dulski will continue to lead Shopping, Travel, Auto, Real Estate and Local under Jeff and Anna Zornosa will continue to lead Personals. This move will drive further organizational alignment around our key audience properties and result in clearer accountability and faster, smarter decision-making and better integration overall. In addition, the engineering function will also moved to align with the product team and will report into Venkat Panchapakesan.

Also, in an effort to create better alignment with the core business units, we are moving Cammie Dunaway, CMO, and her Customer Experience organization to report to me.

As a result of these changes, my direct reports now include Hilary Schneider -- EVP of Global Partner Solutions; Jeff Weiner – EVP of the Yahoo! Network Division; Marco Boerries – EVP, Connected Life; Toby Coppel – Head of Yahoo! Europe; Keith Nilsson – Head of Emerging Markets; Rose Tsou – Head of the Asia Region; a soon to be hired EVP -- Marketing Products Division; Cammie Dunaway -- CMO; Jeff McCombs – my Chief of Staff and VP, Business Management; and Greg Coleman (through February 2008).

I know there have been many changes at Yahoo! over the last few months, and I know that change is not always easy. But I greatly appreciate all of your patience, dedication and hard work. As we look to make Yahoo! the partner of choice for our customers and partners. I am confident that we are putting the right people in the right positions to focus on the right opportunities.

Congratulations to all.

Sue

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