The changes come amid continued uncertainty over the company's future. Two weeks ago it announced that talks with Microsoft had concluded, and then thumbed its nose at the software giant by announcing a search deal with Google. But Yahoo's stock price has fallen more than 16% since announcing the Google deal, and regulators and Congress are looking into the competition and privacy aspects of the partnership. Additionally, AllThingsD.com reported that disgruntled investors are trying to bring the pair together to talk about a new deal, one in which Microsoft buys 33% of Yahoo for $30 to $32 a share. Such a purchase would be enough to effectively give Microsoft control and nullify the Google search deal.
Too soon to gauge impact
Will the new structure help Yahoo reverse course and maintain independence? It's too soon to say. Yahoo stock is down about 2% today, although it's not clear whether that is in reaction to the reorganization.
The new structure creates three teams that report to President Sue Decker: a U.S. region team, an audience-products division and an insights-strategy team.
Hilary Schneider, who is becoming an increasingly public figure around Yahoo -- she sat on a panel at Cannes with execs from Microsoft, AOL and Google -- will head a team devoted to what Yahoo calls all "go-to-market activity in the U.S." She was previously the head of Yahoo's Global Partner Solutions group. U.S. ad sales will continue to report to her, but she will also gain oversight of Yahoo's domestic consumer-facing properties and experiences, essentially bringing those closer to the company's advertising business.
Schneider's fast rise
Ms. Schneider has been at Yahoo since September 2006 and has been a fast-rising executive within the company. She initially led Yahoo's classifieds and local listings division but orchestrated the company's newspaper consortium, calling on her prior experiences in the newspaper industry. (Before coming to Yahoo she headed up Knight Ridder Digital.) Last August, she ascended to head of Global Partner Solutions, where she added oversight for advertising sales and Yahoo's publisher network.
The insights-strategy team will focus on how to use the data Yahoo is able to gather across its network. Yahoo has lots of behavioral data that it collects through both its own Yahoo properties and many of the sites for which it sells ads, and registration data from users who sign up for its products such as e-mail and Flickr and search data. There is no leader yet announced for this group, although Yahoo expects to name one in the next few weeks.
Patel to head audience products
The audience-products division will be headed by longtime Yahoo-er Ash Patel, who will be responsible for product strategy and management. He formerly headed platforms and infrastructure.
Yahoo was careful to position the moves as long in the making, with Ms. Decker stating that the company has "planned these changes deliberately over the past several months to clarify responsibilities and to capitalize on the scale advantages while allowing for fine tuning to meet local market needs."