Under the leadership of Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s new chief executive, the company is still trying to forge a new path forward. Meanwhile, a string of former Yahoo executives are landing important jobs at rival companies, in something of a game of musical chairs of the Internet and online advertising industry.
The latest alum to land a prominent job is Gregory Coleman, who served as the top sales executive at Yahoo until early last year. Mr. Coleman was tapped on Tuesday to run Platform-A, AOL’s collection of online advertising technologies and services. He is succeeding Lynda Clarizio, who was appointed to the job less than a year ago. Her predecessor, Curt Viebranz, lasted less than six months on the job. Last week, AOL announced that it would lay off 700 people, or about 10 percent of its work force, because of the advertising slowdown.
Over the weekend, Scott Moore, who was Yahoo’s top media executive until November, landed a similar job at Microsoft, Yahoo’s rival, onetime suitor and, perhaps, future suitor. (Incidentally, Mr. Moore worked at Microsoft before joining Yahoo and was succeeded at Yahoo by Jeff Dossett, who came from Microsoft.) Under Mr. Moore, Yahoo media properties like News, Finance and Sports were a rare bright spot at the troubled Internet company.
Mr. Moore had planned to start a company but with the downturn in full swing that option was foreclosed. “You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to know that the start-up funding environment is radically different now than even three months ago,” Mr. Moore said in an interview.
Also on Tuesday, ChoiceStream, a Web advertising start-up, said that Usama Fayyad, who was Yahoo’s chief data officer until June, is joining its board. The company also said that Cheryl Kellond, a former vice president of advertising at Yahoo, will be its senior vice president of advertising.
While plenty of ex-Yahoos are finding new jobs, the supply of available Yahoos shows no sign of abating. On Monday, Yahoo confirmed that Jill Nash, its chief communications officer, would be leaving. Ms. Nash had been planning to leave for months, according to people with knowledge of the situation, but agreed to remain on board to assist with the leadership change. Her decision to leave was first reported on the AllThingsD blog.
The exodus of executives at Yahoo over the past two years has turned into a veritable Diaspora, yet it is entirely possible that some of these executives will end up working together again. After all, Microsoft is still coveting Yahoo’s search business. And Yahoo and AOL have held on-again, off-again merger talks for over a year. Ms. Bartz has said she would take time to decide whether these or any other big strategic moves make sense.
Author: MIGUEL HELFT