Yahoo!’s Head of Sales Resigns

Yahoo will be losing yet another of its early employees, as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Anil Singh announced that he would be leaving the company in May.

The company said in a statement that Singh, who also holds the title of vice president of business operations, plans to spend more time with his family and pursue personal interests.

“I am very fortunate to have been a part of Yahoo, working with a wonderful management team and helping our ideas become reality,” Singh said in a statement. “After five fulfilling years here, I look forward to watching Yahoo continue to innovate and strengthen its leadership position.”

Senior executives at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo credit Singh — the company’s 21st employee — with building one of the Internet’s most successful sales operations and ad platforms, albeit one that’s seen its share of difficulties as of late.

As Yahoo’s first sales executive, later senior vice president of sales and finally as chief sales and marketing officer, Singh oversaw the rollout of Yahoo’s ad staff and products, which include corporate marketing, promotions, direct marketing, distribution and sales operations for Yahoo worldwide.

Most recently, he is credited with developing Yahoo’s Fusion Marketing initiative — a program that aims to sign traditional advertisers into integrated online-offline promotions.

“Anil has been a strong contributor to Yahoo’s success,” said Yahoo president and chief operating officer Jeff Mallett. “Under his leadership, the company built a top sales organization from the ground up and pioneered the concept of online advertising when it was still a new idea for marketers.”

For Yahoo, which is almost entirely dependent on ad sales and marketing deals for revenue, the departure comes as more unpleasant news for investors, who had to weather two disappointing — though expected — announcements earlier this month.

The company shied from equating Singh’s departure with anything more than “personal reasons,” yet the announcement nevertheless comes less than a week after Yahoo’s first-ever earnings warning, on lower-than-expected revenue from online advertising.

The company said it would work to boost its subscription-based content and professional services business to compensate for the shortfall in ad revenue during the next few quarters. At the same time as last week’s warning, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Tim Koogle said he would be relinquishing his CEO duties to an as-yet-unnamed successor.

Despite the current management and market turmoil, Mallett reiterated that he was confident in Yahoo’s ability to carry on and make good on ad-supported content.

“Anil … established a strong foundation and sales philosophy that will allow our sales organization to capture the opportunity that lies ahead in the coming years,” he said.

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