Yahoo Names Amazon's Utzschneider as VP-Ad Sales

Will Report Directly to CEO Marissa Mayer

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Lisa Utzschneider
Lisa Utzschneider

Yahoo named former executive Lisa Utzschneider as senior VP of its advertising business in the Americas, bolstering the leadership team as it seeks to jump-start sales.

Ms. Utzschneider, who most recently led Amazon's display advertising efforts, will report to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the company said today in a statement. Ms. Utzschneider replaces Ned Brody, who will assume the new role of senior VP-advertising technology and strategy. Mr. Brody will report to Ms. Utzschneider.

While Yahoo said Mr. Brody is assuming a newly created role, he has a similar title to Scott Burke, who is senior VP-advertising technology. Mr. Burke, however, reports directly to Ms. Mayer.

Re/code reported earlier this week that Yahoo was looking to hire Ms. Utzschneider and that she could potentially fill its vacant chief operating officer role.

Ms. Mayer, more than two years into an attempted turnaround at the Web portal, is looking for new ways to drive sales growth as she comes under pressure from activist shareholder Starboard Value. Last week, Yahoo reported a third-quarter revenue gain of 1.5%, and analysts estimate sales will be unchanged for the year. Mayer fired Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro earlier this year.

"Lisa has a demonstrated track record as a leader and as a business builder, focused on creating and expanding sales relationships," Ms. Mayer said in the statement. "She brings unique strengths to Yahoo in terms of identifying new opportunities to maximize the value of advertising in a rapidly expanding and evolving media landscape."

Before joining Amazon in 2008, Ms. Utzschneider worked at Microsoft Corp. for 10 years, Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo said.

Amazon's advertising business has shown promise. The company, the largest online retailer, is projected to grab 1.7% of the U.S. digital-ad market this year, up from 1.4% in 2013, according to researcher eMarketer. Yahoo's share may fall to 4.9% in 2014 from 5.8%.

Ms. Mayer needs to show improvement. Starboard has questioned her management and called for Yahoo to break itself up to unlock shareholder value. The activist firm is also pushing for her to curb acquisitions and focus more on cutting costs.

--Bloomberg News, with contributions from Tim Peterson

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