Amazon Confirms Ad Sales Chief Lisa Utzschneider to Step Down

North American Sales VP Seth Dallaire to Take Over

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Lisa Utzschneider
Lisa Utzschneider

The woman largely responsible for building Amazon's ad sales organization into an almost billion-dollar business is stepping down.

The e-commerce giant's VP of global advertising sales, Lisa Utzschneider, will be leaving the company at the end of the month, an Amazon spokeswoman confirmed to Ad Age Wednesday evening.

Amazon VP-North American Advertising Sales Seth Dallaire will take over Ms. Utzschneider's position as Amazon Media Group's sales chief, the spokeswoman said. Considered by the ad tech community to be an automated advertising expert, Mr. Dallaire had been Yahoo's VP-global agencies/accounts and sales until joining Amazon in early 2012.

In an ironic twist, Ms. Utzschneider is reportedly leaving Amazon for Yahoo. Re/code reported earlier this week that Yahoo is looking to hire Ms. Utzschneider and that she could potentially fill its vacant chief operating officer role. A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment.

Yahoo's previous COO, Henrique De Castro, was ousted in January after the former Google ad sales exec failed to turn around the portal's dwindling display ad business.

Given her reputation and experience at Amazon, there's reason to believe Ms. Utzschneider may be able to do what Mr. De Castro couldn't at Yahoo. She is described by those who have done business with her as a "corporate executive" well-versed in managing a significant revenue stream and sizeable employee base at a high-profile company as well as an experienced and respected salesperson. Prior to joining Amazon in 2008, she was general manager of sales at Microsoft's display advertising business.

During her six years at Amazon, Ms. Utzschneider built Amazon's ad business from virtually nothing to a revenue stream that generated $750.9 million last year, according to eMarketer estimates. That's a far cry from the $447 million Yahoo made from display advertising in the third quarter alone, but that business is in a two-year slump and could benefit from the programmatic and data-driven approach Ms. Utzschneider applied in building the foundation of Amazon's ad business.

Ad Age interviewed Ms. Utzschneider during Advertising Week in New York earlier this month:

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