Yahoo COO Rosenweig Resigns; Company Reorganization Announced

Yahoo has announced that it is reorganizing the company into three major operating groups, one focused on audience development, another for advertisers & publisher services and the third focusing on technology. Chief Financial Officer Susan Decker will leave her position to head the advertiser and publisher group. Chief Technology Officer Farzad Nazem will head the […]

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Yahoo has announced that it is reorganizing the company into three major
operating groups, one focused on audience development, another for advertisers &
publisher services and the third focusing on technology. Chief Financial Officer
Susan Decker will leave her position to head the advertiser and publisher group. Chief Technology Officer Farzad Nazem will head the technology
group, while a search is underway for someone to head the audience division.
Along with the changes it was announced that Dan Rosensweig, Yahoo’s chief
operating officer, will leave Yahoo at the end of March. More details in the
press release below.

Postscript: Lots of commentary and analysis coming in now, which you can find here on Techmeme, plus Yahoo CEO Terry Semel has a blog post here, though it is similar to the press release.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec 05, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO),
a leading global Internet company, today announced a reorganization of its
structure and management to align its operations with its key customer
segments — audiences, advertisers and publishers — and more effectively
leverage Yahoo!’s significant strengths to capture future opportunities for

"We’re moving aggressively to deliver the most possible value to our key
customers — audiences, advertisers and publishers — and seize the major new
opportunities we see ahead for the Internet," said Terry Semel, Yahoo!
chairman and chief executive officer. "The Internet is continuing to grow and
evolve at a rapid pace, and we’re reshaping Yahoo! to be a leader in this
transformation, just as we did successfully five years ago. Our strategy
capitalizes on big emerging trends and leverages our core strengths in search,
media, communities and communications. We believe having a more
customer-focused organization, supported by robust technology, will speed the
development of leading-edge experiences for our most valuable audience
segments. In turn, we plan to drive growth and profitability by leveraging our
deep audience insights to create a full-fledged advertising network, with a
marketplace that meets supply and demand both on Yahoo!’s valuable
owned-and-operated network and across the entire Internet."

Yahoo!’s strategy is to create unique user experiences and consumer
insights by leveraging its unmatched global user participation, connections
and data. The new structure is designed to drive this strategy by aligning the
organization with four key objectives:

— Expand customer-centric culture and capabilities — Yahoo! will develop
rich experiences for each audience segment and deliver solutions to meet the
needs of all advertisers and publishers worldwide. Yahoo! will organize its
services around audience segments and advertising customers, rather than
around products.

— Create leading social media environments — Yahoo! will leverage its
strong positions in community, communications, search, as well as media
content across its global network to create leading social media environments,
which will encourage every user on the Yahoo! network to participate in the
consumption and publishing of information, and knowledge through tagging,
reviewing, sharing of images and audio, and other social media activities.

— Lead in next-generation advertising platforms — Yahoo! will extend its
industry-leading breadth of offerings to give the most diverse array of
advertisers, from large brand marketers to local merchants, every opportunity
to connect with audiences on and off Yahoo!.

— Drive organizational effectiveness and scale — Yahoo! will recruit and
retain the best industry talent and focus its resources on high-impact,
network-wide platforms to help capture the most significant long-term growth

Three Operating Groups

Under the new structure, Yahoo! will have two customer-focused groups, each
led by a senior, experienced operating executive, and a strengthened
technology function headed by the chief technology officer. All three
executives will report directly to Terry Semel. These groups are:

— Audience Group – This group will be focused on building the largest and
most valuable audiences and relationships on and off the Yahoo! network,
creating more unique, tailored and engaging experiences for Yahoo!’s valuable
users. The group will leverage the success the company has had to date, as the
largest global Internet destination, to further enhance its existing products
in search, media, communities and communications; build social media
environment across Yahoo!; open more opportunities for users to take advantage
of Yahoo! tools and services off network and through mobile and digital
devices; and pursue growth opportunities in emerging international markets.
Yahoo! has launched a search for an experienced executive to serve as head of
this group.

— Advertiser & Publisher Group – This group will lead the transformation
of how advertisers connect with their target customers across the Internet,
with the goal of driving more value for more advertisers and publishers than
any other company. This group will be created by combining Yahoo!’s broad
array of marketing solutions, its industry leading sales teams, and its
thousands of high quality distribution partners, to create a full-fledged
global advertising network on and off Yahoo!. This is designed to benefit both
advertisers and publishers and significantly enhance the company’s
monetization capabilities, by leveraging the size and scale of Yahoo!’s
advertising network. Specifically, this group will provide customer-oriented
solutions across all major segments, including large advertisers and agencies,
small- and medium-sized businesses, local advertisers, resellers and
publishers, as well as develop advertising platforms and marketplaces for the
future. It will be headed by Susan Decker, who has served as chief financial
officer since 2000. Decker has also been an important contributor to the
company’s business strategy, has set and managed all aspects of financial and
administrative direction, and has recently overseen the Yahoo! Marketplaces
business unit, which she will continue to oversee as part of the Advertiser &
Publisher Group.

— Technology Group — Yahoo!’s industry-leading technology group, headed
by Chief Technology Officer Farzad Nazem, will continue to support the entire
organization. In addition to closer engineering integration within product
teams, Yahoo! will concentrate key engineering talent and shift investment
towards the development of high-impact, scalable, global platforms and
infrastructures to help capture the most significant long-term growth
opportunities. For example, the group will be chartered with leveraging
Yahoo!’s platform investments in community to create the technology platforms
for new social media environments. In addition, it will have a mandate to
speed the development of innovative, next generation advertising platforms
beyond Project Panama to support the expansion of Yahoo!’s global advertising
network. Yahoo! also remains committed to developers and its specific focus on
advanced product development.

New Structure Will Increase Accountability, Speed Decision-Making

Semel said, "We’re putting the right people in the right places to execute
our focused growth strategy. Yahoo! has an extraordinarily skilled and
experienced group of senior executives, and we’re adding outside senior talent
to this already strong team. Our new structure gives us the opportunity to
draw more fully on Yahoo!’s deep bench of talent, both at the new group level
and down through the organization, while also increasing accountability,
reducing bottlenecks and speeding decision-making. We’ll also continue to
drive sustained innovation by recruiting, developing and retaining the best
talent in our industry."

Yahoo!’s senior management team, actively led by Semel and with the
continued participation of Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, will work closely
together on a daily basis to ensure that the company is aggressively moving
its strategy forward, driving long-term growth and fulfilling Yahoo!’s core
mission to connect people to their passions, their communities, and the
world’s knowledge.

The company has a search under way for a new chief financial officer to
succeed Decker, who will be assisting in this search. Decker will continue to
serve as CFO in the interim. The new CFO and other corporate functions,
including corporate development, legal affairs, human resources and corporate
communications will report to Semel.

Dan Rosensweig, chief operating officer, has decided to leave Yahoo!, at
the end of March, to ensure a smooth transition.

"Since joining Yahoo! almost five years ago, Dan has been a driving force
behind Yahoo!’s phenomenal audience and advertising growth, helping shape the
development and creation of some of the most adopted and innovative services
on the Web today. At the same time, he has helped build some of our most
valued partner and client relationships, resulting in our strong advertising
success during the last five years," said Semel. "Dan has been closely
involved in our efforts to realign Yahoo!’s business for the next phase of
growth, and has built a world class team under him. Dan was one of my first
executive hires at Yahoo! and I am very appreciative of the friendship,
leadership, vision and passion that he has brought to Yahoo!. We will all miss
Dan and thank him for all he has done."

The changes in leadership assignments are effective January 1, 2007. The
company expects to complete its reorganization by the end of Q1 2007.

Building on Yahoo!’s Positive Momentum

Yahoo! is moving aggressively to secure leading positions where it sees the
largest opportunities for growth on the Internet. Over the past month, among
other steps, Yahoo! has:

— Announced a strategic partnership with the publishers of more than 150
U.S. daily newspapers to deliver search, graphical and classified advertising
to consumers in their own communities;

— Received encouraging feedback on the roll-out of its new search
advertising platform, known as Project Panama;

— Announced a partnership with Vodafone that will use innovative
technology to create a new mobile phone advertising business;

— Released the beta version of its graphical advertising platform for the
mobile Web in the United States, complementing the search advertising platform
for the mobile Web released earlier in the year;

— Announced plans to acquire, a social media contest site; and

— Continued to have tremendous success with the international expansion of
Yahoo! Answers.

"We already have leading positions in many areas across the Internet, from
community, to communications, to media content," Semel noted. "With our new
organization and a focused growth strategy that leverages our core strengths,
we’re well positioned to extend our leadership in the years ahead."

About Susan Decker

Before joining Yahoo! in June 2000 as CFO, Susan Decker was with Donaldson,
Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) for 14 years, where she served most recently as the
global director of equity research, a $300 million operation. Earlier, she was
an equity research analyst on more than 30 media, publishing and advertising
companies. She was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as a
top-rated analyst for 10 consecutive years. She currently serves on the boards
of directors of Intel, Costco Wholesale and The Stanford Institute for
Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), and was previously a member of the Financial
Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC) and the board of directors of
Pixar Animation Studios, until its sale to Disney. Ms. Decker holds a B.S.
from Tufts University and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.

About Farzad Nazem

Farzad Nazem joined Yahoo! in early 1996 as senior vice president of
engineering and surfing and was named chief technology officer of Yahoo! in
early 1998, responsible for overseeing all areas of engineering, including
site operations and product development. He is credited with overseeing the
development and expansion of Yahoo!’s technical platform. Mr. Nazem has more
than 25 years of experience in executive and technical positions. Before
coming to Yahoo!, he was vice president of Oracle Corporation’s Media and Web
Server Division and held various technical positions for SYDIS, Inc. and Rolm
Corporation. He holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from California
Polytechnic State University.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet brand and one of the most
trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo!’s mission is to connect
people to their passions, their communities, and the world’s knowledge. Yahoo!
is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties concerning Yahoo!’s announced reorganization (including
without limitation the statements contained in the quotations from management
in this press release), as well as Yahoo!’s strategic and operational plans.
Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in this
press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The potential risks
and uncertainties include, among others, our ability to (1) create unique,
tailored and engaging user experiences; (2) successfully develop leading
social media environments; (3) provide solutions, platforms and marketplaces
providing greater value to advertisers and publishers and creating increased
monetization opportunities; (4) successfully develop and implement new
platforms and infrastructures; and (5) to retain and recruit key talent. More
information about potential factors that could affect the Company’s business
and financial results is included under the captions, "Risk Factors" and
"Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of
Operations," in Yahoo!’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2005 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended
September 30, 2006, which are on file with the SEC and available at the SEC’s
website at

Yahoo! and the Yahoo! logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of
Yahoo! Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of
their respective owners.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and MarTech, and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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