Yahoo Reorg Is Official, Sales Chief Schneider to Lead U.S. Unit

Yahoo’s company-wide reorg is now official.

The new set-up creates three units that will report up to Sue Decker, including an Audience Products Division to be led by Ash Patel, a Yahoo veteran of nine years; a U.S.-focused unit led by Hilary Schneider; and a somewhat nebulous Insights Strategy team geared toward the use of data and analysis.

schneider.jpg It was only last August that Yahoo named Hilary Schneider to lead the new Global Partner Solutions unit, with oversight of ad sales, HotJobs and Yahoo Publisher Network. Global Partner Solutions will be dissolved as will the Yahoo Network division. A spokesperson said the new division gives Schneider cleaner oversight of the profit and loss structure in the U.S.

“That’s a lot of what this reorganization has been about,” he said. “Driving accountability and clarifying P&L structure. We now have four regions, each with its own P&L line.” Those regions are the U.S., Europe, Asia and emerging markets.

The realignment is designed to centralize the development of products and speed their release worldwide, bring consumer and advertising products to market in the U.S., and improve coordination between product and engineering teams, the company said.

It will consolidate numerous products, such as mail, search and homepage operations, into a global unit. President Sue Decker is apparently driving the changes in the interest of facilitating better communication between domestic and overseas product groups.

Decker reportedly stepped up the pace of planning for the new division after the departure last week of Network Division EVP Jeff Weiner.

Weiner’s was just one of many recent executive departures. At least eight mid- to senior-level Yahoos either have left or are expected to leave in short order. They include Usama Fayyad, the company’s EVP of research and strategic data solutions; Jeremy Zawodny, a long-time technology lead who bolted to join Craigslist as chief technology officer; Communities and Front Doors SVP Brad Garlinghouse (of peanut butter manifesto fame); Qi Lu, EVP of engineering for the search and advertising technology group; search group SVP Vish Makhijani; and Flickr founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield.

The shake-up comes amid rumors that major Yahoo shareholders are working behind the scenes to craft a deal that would return Microsoft and Yahoo to the negotiating table.

Yahoo management, meanwhile, is focused on convincing investors its Google deal was a smart one. In a letter to shareholders yesterday, Yahoo described Microsoft’s second offer — to acquire only its search business — in more granularity than we’d seen before. According to the missive penned by Jerry Yang and CEO Roy Bostock, Microsoft’s proposal included an $8 billion investment in Yahoo while requiring Yahoo to “commit to a 10-year exclusive arrangement that would have made us dependent on Microsoft for all of our search business.”

The arrangement also would have given Microsoft the right to veto “certain future Yahoo actions,” including a sale of the company.

The letter argues the Google relationship is valuable precisely for its lack of commitments. “It allows Yahoo! to use Google’s services in those areas where Google monetizes our inventory more effectively but also permits us to continue to use our own search technology in areas where we believe we are most competitive,” Yang and Bostock wrote.

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