Posted by: Rob Hof on June 16, 2008
This will be no surprise to anyone following the continuing Microsoft-Yahoo saga, but another top executive of Yahoo has departed for less scorched pastures. Jeff Weiner, executive vice president of Yahoo’s Network Division—essentially all of Yahoo’s consumer-oriented properties—just joined as executive in residence at both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners, where he will split his time at their Silicon Valley offices starting in September.
Weiner’s the most high-profile departure recently, but not the only one. Usama Fayyad, chief data officer and executive vice-president of research and strategic data solutions, and prominent Yahoo software developer Jeremy Zawodny also are leaving. Boomtown blogger Kara Swisher, who broke the news last week that Weiner would be leaving, says Weiner likely won’t be replaced, instead spurring yet another reorganization at the beleaguered company.
Word was that Weiner rethought his life after becoming a father recently and decided to make a change. No doubt that had something to do with it, but you think maybe the ongoing onslaught by angry investors, corporate raider Carl Icahn, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, and countless media outlets had something to do with it too? Uh, maybe.
Now, Weiner will “advise the leadership teams of existing Accel and Greylock consumer technology portfolio companies, and will also work closely with the firm’s partners to evaluate new investment opportunities,” according to the release. I suspect he also will get to help decide which emerging Web 2.0 companies funded by Accel and Greylock have the best chance to become the next Yahoo or (better) Google, and which will be forced to sell out and become mere features inside the Web giants. (Or maybe, as Zvents CEO Ethan Stock speculates, he could become CEO of Facebook, the most high-profile company Accel and Greylock have in common among their portfolio companies.)
Whatever’s next for Weiner, it sounds like more fun to me than trying to keep the wheels on Yahoo.
* UPDATE: Now, the Flickr duo, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake—credited at one point with helping recharge Yahoo’s development of new services—are also leaving, TechCrunch reports. In comments, Butterfield assures us that Flickr is in good new hands under Kakul Srivastava. But these are two more people Yahoo surely didn’t want to lose.