Yahoo Taps New Chief of Agency Relations

Debra Meyer Joins From AOL Social Network Bebo

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo has tapped former Bebo exec Debra Meyer as its new head of agency relations, replacing Beth Lawrence, who joined the Weather Channel in December.

Debra Meyer
Debra Meyer
Ms. Meyer comes to Yahoo from AOL, where she was head of U.S. sales for ailing social network Bebo; prior to that she spent nearly a decade at Nielsen Online and 10 years in the agency world, working for McCann-Erickson and Grey Advertising.

She joins a coterie of "agency relations" executives at the largest internet companies, several of whom have shuffled over the past six months. Google's agency relations head, Erin Clift, followed Tim Armstrong and Jeff Levick to AOL. Ms. Clift was replaced by Torrence Boone, former CEO of Enfatico, a marketing services shop formed by WPP to serve Dell, one of its largest accounts. (Enfatico was disbanded after Dell moved its business to Young & Rubicam, another WPP shop.)

Large sellers of digital advertising have for some time attempted to work on a higher level with the holding companies, in part due to the complexity of digital advertising as well as its scale.

Yahoo, for example, is part of an ongoing test of online video formats by Publicis Groupe media unit Vivaki. Interpublic Group of Cos. agencies work with Microsoft, and the holding company also signed a deal to make the software giant its "preferred" ad server.

These executives are generally tasked with both educating the agency and planning outside the standard sales process.

"It's the nature of what we do -- there's complexity to it," said Yahoo's sales chief, Joanne Bradford. "Most media companies have sales people cover this but we need to separate that out from sales and have more-strategic level discussions."

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