Kara Swisher

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Yahoo Media's Scott Moore and Al Warms to Depart This Week

Aside from upcoming layoffs, it seemed as if Yahoo had stanched the flow of major execs from the company.

Not so, it seems, as several sources with knowledge of the situation confirm that the two top execs of the troubled Internet company’s media unit will be announcing their departures later this week.

SVP Scott Moore (pictured here), who runs Yahoo’s media group out of its offices in Santa Monica, Calif., and also Alan Warms, who came to Yahoo from its BuzzTracker acquisition last year and is head of Yahoo News, Tech and Education, will both be leaving.

It is not clear what their future plans are.

Moore declined to comment when reached by phone, and Warms did not return an email requesting comment. Yahoo also did not yet respond to a request for comment.

In any case, the departures are troublesome as Yahoo (YHOO) tries to right itself, especially since its content operations are among its bright spots. Yahoo’s various sites are some of the largest on the Web, such as its news, finance and sports online franchises.

Overall, the media properties hit more than 70 million unique visitors monthly.

Losing top execs is also a problem as Yahoo also attempts to complete a merger with Time Warner (TWX) online unit AOL. Talks between the companies have been ongoing for months.

With high-ranking Yahoo execs like Moore gone, it will likely fall to AOL execs, such as its content head Bill Wilson, who will be more likely to head integration efforts, if a deal is ever struck.

And while no replacement for Moore has been selected, insiders note that Yahoo Sports head James Pitaro, who has reportedly gotten a number of outside offers, would be a likely internal candidate for the job.

Then again, Yahoo’s management might reorganize yet again, creating another new set-up for its content operations or add new execs.

[Update: Later today, Yahoo named former Microsoft digital exec Jeff Dossett, who was the lead for audience, content and programming strategy and execution in the U.S., as its new SVP for Audience. I had reported last month that Dossett was being considered for a big job at Yahoo, although Microsoft denied it at the time.]

Rumors of Moore’s departure have been swirling for months, especially recently outside the company. BoomTown previously reported he was looking at starting a new venture.

I did a video interview in July (see below) with Moore about his plans for the Media Group, where he has worked since he came to Yahoo in mid-2005 from a series of major posts at Microsoft (MSFT).

At Microsoft, he ran its various content operations for many years. Moore came to Yahoo to work for Lloyd Braun, the Hollywood exec who left Yahoo under yet another swirl of controversy.

His portfolio grew when Braun’s other No. 2–Vince Broady–was re-orged out of his job last December, giving Moore purview over the whole Media Group.

In Yahoo’s latest reorganization, Moore has been reporting to U.S. head Hilary Schneider, in a move to better align its media and advertising sales.

Moore and his staff have tried a range of large and small experiments in original content, some of which have worked and some of which have not.

Interestingly, Yahoo has not abandoned its original content effort at all, doing newsy programming like political debates and even an online interview with President George Bush.

But the company seemed to be settling into a pattern best exemplified by its recently launched Tech Ticker, which is a combination of Yahoo’s own inexpensively produced but well done content and videos and that of outside contributors (AllThingsD.com content is featured there, for example).

More to come, but here is the interview with Moore from this summer:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus