Posted by: Rob Hof on February 26, 2009
New CEO Carol Bartz just announced in a detail-free blog post the much-anticipated shakeup of Yahoo’s management ranks. Although she didn’t say what the reorganization would involve beyond making the setup simpler, some current executives clearly won’t be part of it. This morning, Yahoo said Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen will be leaving, only a day after he made a presentation at a tech conference.
UPDATED: Yahoo released more details on the reorganization, with few surprises for anyone who didn’t miss Kara Swisher’s recent posts on her blog BoomTown. Essentially, current chief technology officer Aristotle “Ari” Balogh will be head of products and Hilary Schneider, current head of ad, publishing and audience groups in the U.S., will head North American operations. The upshot: The new sheriff in town is laying down the law, and there is no longer any doubt who will make the key decisions, and make them quickly. All the major executives report directly to Bartz now.
* Our goal as a company is simple: to consistently deliver awesome consumer and advertiser experiences everywhere in the world we do business. So we’re creating an organization to enable improvements in our product quality and operational efficiency, as well as clear decision making and accountability.
* Tech and Product groups will be combined to create a single organization called Products. Products will be led by Ari Balogh as EVP of Products and CTO, reporting to Carol Bartz, with the goal of enabling extraordinary consumer experiences tied to compelling advertiser and publisher offerings. This organization is responsible for the vision, strategy, and quality of every product we create -- regardless of region, device format or category.
* There are now two regions – North America and International. The regions are responsible for delivering Yahoo!’s products, programming and services to consumers, partners and advertisers in local markets. North America will be led by Hilary Schneider, EVP, North American Region, reporting to Carol Bartz. International’s leader will be hired soon.
* Mobile will continue to be a key priority for Yahoo!. Going forward, David Ko will lead the mobile business, strategy and monetization teams for Yahoo! (Head of Global Mobile Business, reporting to Hilary Schneider). All of our product teams will be responsible for incorporating mobile innovations into their products.
* A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role has been created to oversee our global marketing strategy and provide direction for our marketing function. Today, we named our new CMO, Elisa Steele. Elisa starts on March 23. She will bring together the various marketing teams that have been spread across the company.
* A new Customer Advocacy group will help us to better hear the voice of the customer (consumers/advertisers) across the company and incorporate what we hear into all our work throughout Yahoo!. We will hire a new leader for this team.
* The newly created Service Engineering & Operations (SE&O) team will be chartered with delivering common technology services at scale, including application management and infrastructure. The team will be led by David Dibble, SVP of SE&O. We’re bringing Service Engineering together as one group because these engineers bring expertise that is best applied horizontally.
* Our corporate functions will consist of HR led by David Windley, Legal led by Michael Callahan, and our CFO is to be hired, with Blake Jorgensen remaining through the transition. Joel Jones will serve as Carol Bartz’s chief of staff.
* This structure is designed to last two to four years; however, we’ll continue to make adjustments as needed. But we expect this core structure will stay in place.
The key new face is new Chief Marketing Officer Elisa Steele, currently NetApp's senior vice president of corporate marketing. Bartz serves on the board of NetApp, a data storage company, so this is someone she knows well. Also relatively new is David Dibble,
currently who until December was CTO at First Data Corp., who will head the internal technology group. Still to be hired are a head of international operations, head of the new Customer Advocacy Group, and a new CFO.
Jorgensen's departure follows those of mobile chief Marco Boerries earlier this week as well as news head Neeraj Khemlani, who's going to Hearst as VP and special assistant to the CEO for digital media. Jorgensen was a close ally of former Yahoo President Sue Decker, who left last month when she was passed over for the CEO job, and cofounder and former CEO Jerry Yang, now back in his longtime role as chief Yahoo.
In her blog post, Bartz promised that Yahoo's infamous product silos are "gone." She also said she's creating a Customer Advocacy Group "after getting a lot of angry calls at my office from frustrated customers." Clearly, her focus will be on getting new and compelling products out much faster. And she said there will be a renewed emphasis on pushing Yahoo's brand, which still carries weight among many consumers. "Look for this company's brand to kick ass again," she wrote in her now-famous no-holds-barred language.
Investors apparently like what little they heard, as Yahoo's stock is up 5% so far today. The stock rose yesterday as well after Jorgensen's comments indicated Yahoo might be open to a search deal, though what he said was nothing Yahoo executives hadn't said before. Many investors still hope for at least a search advertising deal with Microsoft, whose overtures Yang and Yahoo's board rebuffed repeatedly last year.
Here's Bartz's full post, and I'll be adding more details as I get them:
Getting our house in order
A month and a half in the saddle and today I have the perfect excuse to get blogging.
I’ve been on a whirlwind tour for the last six weeks, talking with everybody from executive leaders to the guys who configured my laptop. I’ve been in student mode, slowly getting smarter about what makes this place tick. And most recently, I’ve been gathering information on what it’s going to take to get Yahoo! to a great place as an organization –- and one that brings you killer products.
People here have impressed the hell out of me. They’re smart, dedicated, passionate, driven, and really nice. There’s so much great energy and frankly lots of optimism. But there’s also plenty that has bogged this company down. For starters, you’d be amazed at how complicated some things are here.
So today I’m rolling out a new management structure that I believe will make Yahoo! a lot faster on its feet. For us working at Yahoo!, it means everything gets simpler. We’ll be able to make speedier decisions, the notorious silos are gone, and we have a renewed focus on the customer. For you using Yahoo! every day, it will better enable us to deliver products that make you say, “Wow.”
I’ve noticed that a lot of us on the inside don’t spend enough time looking to the outside. That’s why I’m creating a new Customer Advocacy group. After getting a lot of angry calls at my office from frustrated customers, I realized we could do a better job of listening to and supporting you. Our Customer Care team does an incredible job with the amazing number of people who come to them, but they need better resources. So we’re investing in that. After all, you deserve the very best.
We’re also leaning on this team to make sure we’re all hearing the voice of our customers (consumers and advertisers). I’m singularly focused on providing you with awesome products. Period. The kind that get you so excited, you have to tell someone about them. Whether on your desktop, your mobile device, or even your TV.
And that takes a real understanding of what you want/need/love/hate, how you’re using our products, and what you find simple, intuitive, easy and fun. Who wants innovation for innovation’s sake if it doesn’t make your life easier, more efficient, more productive? So expect us to hear you better and take better care of you.
Finally, a note about our brand. It’s one of our biggest assets. Mention Yahoo! practically anywhere in the world, and people yodel. But in the past few years, we haven’t been as clear in showing the world what the Yahoo! brand stands for. We’re going to change that. Look for this company’s brand to kick ass again.
Big thanks to the many of you who’ve reached out with positive comments. It’s clear people want Yahoo! to succeed. I’ll try to pop by here again soon, though probably not too soon. I have a pretty long to-do list.