Yahoo! Loses Another Media Executive

  |  December 28, 2001   |  Comments

The departure of media, finance and leisure division head David Graves leaves another hole for the Web portal to fill.

Yahoo media head David Graves is set to retire at the end of the month -- leaving yet another hole for the Web portal to fill as it works to reorganize its business.

Graves, a senior vice president at the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Web portal's media, finance and leisure division, is said to be departing for what the company would only term personal reasons. According to wire reports, the Boston-based executive wanted to spend more time closer to home.

Nevertheless, his departure comes at a critical juncture for Yahoo, as it attempts to restructure its operations and slim down drastically, based on a plan outlined by chief executive Terry Semel.

Semel, who discussed the reorganization during Yahoo's analyst briefing in November, said that the Web portal would reduce its operations from 44 lines of business to six -- e-commerce, communications, media and information, search listings, and business services -- and cut about 400 employees from its payroll.

Those changes, Semel said, would result in a greater shift away from advertising revenue as Yahoo's chief source of income. By 2004, Semel said Yahoo expects to make only 50 percent of its revenue from advertising, down from about 80 percent currently.

At the same time, Graves' departure also come as Yahoo is striving to fill holes left following an exodus of several key advertising and marketing executives.

In October, Yahoo tapped former DoubleClick media chief Wenda Harris Millard as chief ad sales officer. A month later, Yahoo brought in John Costello, a former marketing head at Sears.

The appointments filled posts left vacant by the resignations of vice president of worldwide marketing Karen Edwards, in August, and chief sales and marketing officer Anil Singh, who quit in March just days after former CEO Tim Koogle announced his own intention to leave.

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