Kara Swisher

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Confirmed: Yahoo CTO and Chief Product Officer Balogh to Leave Company

arielogh_0006

As BoomTown reported earlier today, Yahoo is searching for a new CTO and chief product officer. Its current exec in charge, Ari Balogh (pictured here), confirmed in an interview this afternoon that he is leaving the company.

“It’s probably bad timing, since we are in the midst of recharging Yahoo,” said Balogh. “But this had to do with personal priorities.”

By that, he was referring to personal issues in Greece, where Balogh was partially raised, related to an uncle to whom he is close. Balogh will be moving his family there this summer.

In a further complication, they cannot travel there by plane, because his daughter cannot fly due to issues around her hearing impairment.

The leading candidate for Balogh’s job at Yahoo (YHOO), said several sources, is former Microsoft (MSFT) exec Blake Irving.

Balogh would not comment on that, but noted Yahoo was looking at several candidates.

Balogh’s parting is one of many among top Yahoo execs recently, under the leadership of CEO Carol Bartz. Advertising sales head Joanne Bradford departed the company to join Demand Media, while longtime tech exec Ash Patel said he would not return from a sabbatical he took last year.

Here’s Yahoo’s official statement, for the record:

Ari Balogh, EVP, Products and CTO, has decided to leave Yahoo! for personal reasons. Ari plans to remain with the company until June 3 and will be working with the team to enable a smooth transition. We expect to name his replacement in the coming weeks. We thank him for his many contributions and wish him well.

And here is a statement from Balogh:

“While Yahoo! has become a family to me in many ways over the last two years, I have a situation with my own family that is difficult and has driven me to make some changes in my life. This job was my dream job, which makes this decision very hard. I have been working with Carol on a succession plan that we will roll out over the coming weeks. Yahoo! has many opportunities to touch so many people’s lives and the company is well positioned to take advantage of every one of them. I am confident that the incredible people at Yahoo! will deliver against our vision to be the center of people’s online lives.”

Here is a video interview I did with Balogh last July:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald