Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Troops Skittish With No Word From Top on Exec Departures (So's Microsoft)

“We are wandering around and people are asking us questions and we don’t know what’s going on ourselves,” said one very nervous Yahoo ad salesperson this morning, in New York for Advertising Week, the most important gathering of the year for online sales. “There’s a lot of uncertainty from an employee perspective.”

You can say that again.

Today, as news BoomTown broke about the departure of Yahoo’s U.S. head Hilary Schneider and two other key execs at the Internet giant spread, I have been on the receiving end of a spate of emails and calls and text messages from staffers at the Silicon Valley icon searching for information about what’s up at their own company.

That’s because neither the top management of Yahoo (YHOO) nor its typically ineffectual board has communicated to its thousands of employees about exactly what is going on, nor about plans to replace bosses in charge of giant swaths of the business.

Now, for example, Yahoo’s ad sales execs say they don’t know who to report to, since Schneider is headed out and no one person replaced U.S. ad sales leader Joanne Bradford in Yahoo’s key moneymaking market after she left in March.

And media workers, such as GMs of powerful Yahoo news, sports, finance and mobile efforts, all under departing Audience head David Ko and VP of Media Jimmy Pitaro, are also wondering who is now in charge.

Here’s my promise: I will have all internal memos here, as soon as they are released and I can get my mitts on them.

It’s not clear when that will be. Sources said Yahoo might make a statement about the situation this afternoon, before the planned announcement tomorrow afternoon about the exec departures, but it has not been determined yet.

But sources said Yahoo might have an exec to announce to replace at least Schneider by today, given how important sales are to the company.

Since Chief Product Officer Blake Irving is from Microsoft and he has brought in several execs from there to Yahoo, rumors are swirling around yet another one coming in.

Some outside partners are also nervous, including those staying at Microsoft.

In an interview just this morning with the new head of global ad sales for Microsoft (MSFT) Carolyn Everson, for example, she pointed out that Yahoo is slated to take over premium online ad sales for the software giant under the terms of their search and technology partnership in just two weeks.

“I’ll be honest,” she said. “We are a little worried.” But she added that Yahoo remains an important strategic partner and the success of the alliance is a key focus.

Worried? Get in line, it seems.


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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