Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Help Wanted: So When Is Yahoo Going to Hire a New Head of Ad Sales?

It’s been almost four months since Joanne Bradford stepped down as head of U.S. revenue and market development for Yahoo and the company has yet to hire a new exec to fill the key job.

That’s got a lot of people inside Yahoo (YHOO) a little jumpy, according to numerous sources who have contacted me recently, because of the importance of firm leadership in the premium display online ad business in which the Internet giant needs to keep excelling.

U.S. head Hilary Schneider has been leading the search for a replacement for Bradford, using star headhunter Jim Citrin of Spencer Stuart.

But she’s reportedly been unable to land the kind of prominent name Yahoo has been seeking for the job, after trying to attract several well-known candidates and rejecting others.

Microsoft (MSFT) recently hired an exec Yahoo had considered–former MTV Networks ad exec Carolyn Everson, who is likely to be announcing a new sales structure there soon–for its head of U.S. online ad sales.

With Everson and others not panning out, one hope was that Patrick Keane, CEO of Associated Content, which Yahoo just acquired, would take the job. But sources said he has thus far declined the offer.

And that’s why, sources said, Yahoo is back to eyeballing internal candidates again, especially 11-year Yahoo veteran Mitch Spolan, VP of North American field sales, and Mollie Spilman, Yahoo’s SVP of B2B marketing and also its packaging group.

Another Yahoo exec who had been in the running: Seth Dallaire, a former Microsoft exec whom Bradford brought to the company last fall as VP of mid-market sales, a newly-created role responsible for all mid-market sales efforts across search and display advertising.

We’ll see how it turns out, but as Yahoo just closed its second quarter, it will be important to get some clarity around its most important business in its most important market, especially as its stock continues its lackluster performance.

To help goose its shares, Yahoo announced a $3 billion stock buyback plan last week.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik