Yahoo's Hilary Schneider Dumps 'Interim' Title, Names Self Head of Sales

Three-Month Search Turned Up No Serious Candidates For Difficult Role

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo is ending its three-month search for a new advertising sales chief right about where it began.

Rather than name a new head of sales from the dozens of internal and external candidates, Exec VP Hilary Schneider is appointing herself, removing the "interim" on the title she assumed when Joanne Bradford left Yahoo for Demand Media in March.

Hilary Schneider
Hilary Schneider Credit: Yahoo
Ms. Schneider will be leaning on four direct reports, three of whom are currently in the organization: Mitch Spolan, who will become head of field sales and agencies; Seth Dallaire, mid-market and audience channels sales; and Frank Weishaupt, head of sales development, operations and marketplaces.

Reporting to Ms. Schneider on a temporary basis is Jim Stothard, head of account management, but he will be leaving Yahoo due to what Ms. Schneider called a personal matter. Yahoo will seek a replacement for the role.

In a search conducted by Spencer Stuart, Yahoo interviewed far and wide for the job, reaching out to execs at competing companies as well as at ad holding companies. But in an interview, Ms. Schneider said the available outside candidates weren't more compelling than the top executives already in place.

"After spending time working internally with the team that we had and talking to a lot of talent on the outside of the organization, I've made the decision not to replace the head of sales position but to double down on the talent within the organization," she said.

Further, she said, with offerings as diverse and complicated as Yahoo's -- from display to search to partner sales and bid marketplaces -- the idea of a traditional "head of sales" may be outmoded.

"The traditional model of having a single head of sales makes sense when the rate of change and the complexity is not as great as it is today, not only in the digital space but also at Yahoo," Ms. Schneider said.

Rather, she will be relying heavily on a group of top execs, all vice presidents and some of whom have added additional responsibilities.

Mr. Spolan will now be responsible for Yahoo's top 500 marketers, both search and display, as well as its agency relationships. Mr. Dallaire will be responsible for all of Yahoo's bid markets, such as the Right Media exchange; local advertising and channel sales, including Yahoo's newspaper consortium; and "emerging" media such as video, social and mobile. He'll also run the business side of Yahoo's newest acquisition, Associated Content.

Mr. Weishaupt, who had been running Yahoo's marketplaces team, will head sales operations and sales development, including sales strategy and training. Mr. Southard, and whoever is found as his replacement, will head account management, which supports the direct sales operation and makes sure campaigns are carried out in the way the advertiser or agency expects.

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