Yahoo Promotes Lisa Utzschneider to Global Revenue Chief

Former Amazon Sales Head Joined the Portal Last Year

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Lisa Utzschneider
Lisa Utzschneider

Yahoo has a worldwide ad sales boss once again.

The portal has promoted Lisa Utzschneider to be Yahoo's chief revenue officer, the company announced on Thursday. Amazon's former ad sales boss, Ms. Utzschneider left the e-commerce giant last October to join Yahoo as its head of ad sales for North and South America.

"Her deep knowledge of digital advertising and ability to maximize value for advertisers make Lisa the right leader for our sales efforts as we work to scale our business globally," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a statement.

Ms. Utzschneider fills the role -- but not the exact position -- vacated by former Google ad sales exec Henrique De Castro. A former Google exec, Ms. Mayer had appointed her former colleague to be Yahoo's COO in October 2012 but fired him in January 2014 after he was unable to reverse Yahoo's ad revenue slide. Soon after firing Mr. De Castro, Ms. Mayer said during an earnings call that she did not plan to hire a replacement. Technically she hasn't, since Ms. Utzschneider's title is different than Mr. De Castro's.

While her time at Yahoo has been relatively short, Ms. Utzschneider has been the company's top sales exec in its most important region at a time when Yahoo's advertising business appears to be finally turning around. The second quarter of 2015 marked the first time during Ms. Mayer's three-year tenure as CEO that the company reported year-over-year increases in overall revenue as well as search and display advertising revenue.

Much of the rebound in Yahoo's display advertising business is thanks to the acquisitions of mobile ad network Flurry and video ad exchange BrightRoll. Both ad-tech deals largely preceded Ms. Utzschneider's joining Yahoo (the BrightRoll deal was announced a couple weeks after Ms. Utzschneider's hire). Ms. Mayer said during this week's earnings call that the company's declining premium ad sales -- which include home-page takeovers and large sponsorship deals like the one-year deal it signed in February with Honda for "Community" -- had actually improved in the second quarter.

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