NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo No. 2 Hilary Schneider will oversee ad sales at the portal for at least the next few months as it searches internally and externally for a replacement for Joanne Bradford, who left suddenly to be come chief revenue officer at Demand Media.
In an interview, Ms. Schneider said all of Ms. Bradford's direct reports would report to her to ensure a "level of continuity." Ms. Schneider has been deeply involved with the integration of Yahoo and Microsoft search sales operations and said that effort, under way now, won't be affected by Ms. Bradford's departure.
"My plan is to work with Joanne's team directly," Ms. Schneider said. "At the same time we are going to launch an external search which I expect will take a couple of months."
Ms. Bradford's decision to leave caught Yahoo by surprise; most learned from AllThingsD after Kara Swisher broke news of her impending departure, though Ms. Schneider said Ms. Bradford told a select group of Yahoo execs of her plans on Monday morning.
Yahoo hasn't yet retained a firm to conduct the search, but Heidrick & Struggles recruited CEO Carol Bartz a little more than a year ago and Chief Marketing Officer Elisa Steele, who joined the company from NetApp last spring.
Right now Ms. Schneider and Ms. Bradford's top deputies Mitch Spolan, Jim Stothard, Seth Dallaire and Erika Nardini are meeting with clients to fill them in on their plans. "The clients we are speaking with are surprised about this, about Joanne's departure, but unconcerned about the momentum they have with us," Ms. Schneider said.
What's Yahoo looking for in an ad sales chief? A strategic mind and the ability to lead, but not necessarily a replica of what they've had in the past.
"The marketplace continues to change -- you've got the convergence of PC and mobile, and devices like the iPad that will be adding opportunity," Ms. Schneider said. "From my perspective I can see the talent we have internally and I am excited to explore what kinds of talent exist on the outside to find the right mix."