Kara Swisher

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The King Is Dead, Long Live the … Whatever: Levinsohn’s Management Moves at Yahoo (Internal Memo)

Here’s a memo that interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn sent his troops earlier today about some management switcheroos.

No surprise that ousted CEO Scott Thompson’s first big hire from his former job at eBay’s PayPal unit is gone — just-installed-a-minute-ago commerce leader Sam Schrauger. (Also heading out, but not in the memo is PR head Amanda Pires, also from PayPal.)

Also moved aside, to a position unknown, is Thompson’s chief of staff Marta Nichols, who had been head of investor relations at Yahoo. Levinsohn’s new chief of staff is Michel Protti.

So who’s in? Levinsohn favorites, of course, including: Mickie Rosen, who headed Americas media and who now gets global media and commerce; Mollie Spillman, who was co-running commerce with Schrauger and is now head of marketing (replacing former CEO Carol Bartz-regime exec Penny Baldwin).

For those following the soap opera that I am chief writer for, “Days of Our Yahoos,” Levinsohn became leader of the beleaguered Internet giant after a controversy over a false computer science degree on Thompson’s bio.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the former employees of our Yahoo.

(At least, though, this is not a story about the Facebook IPO — hands up for those sick and tired of that one now?)

Here’s the Levinsohn memo:


Thank you for all of the feedback, support, and comments since our all-hands meetings in Sunnyvale on Monday and NYC on Wednesday. I’m fired up and I hope you are too. I believe in the power of what we’re doing. We have an incredibly talented team, unparalleled strengths in key areas and most importantly, I see the purple pride building everywhere. Let’s move forward quickly with conviction and confidence.

We have a lot to do. The most pressing thing I heard from you is the desire to clearly define our vision and strategy. I promise you we will be transparent and plan to articulate this in the coming weeks. Right now, we’re identifying the most critical priorities and initiatives, clarifying the scope and charter of teams, ensuring we’re positioned to build on successes quickly and effectively, and focusing on Q2.

As part of this, there are a few changes to the structure of my leadership team beginning today:

**Mickie Rosen is now the head of global media and commerce. Mickie has done a fantastic job driving our Americas media network and will now lead the global media team — including media editorial, business development and partnerships, product, design, and engineering. Additionally, the commerce business unit will return to its original home and report into her. Commerce is a significant opportunity for growth, and in order to thrive it needs to be woven throughout the Yahoo! experience and close to our major traffic drivers.

**Mollie Spilman is our new chief marketing officer (CMO). Mollie is responsible for all of our worldwide marketing and brand efforts as well as the global comms (PR) team. Prior to the commerce org, Mollie ran the Americas marketing team for the last two years, creating closer connections between Yahoo! and its consumers and advertisers.

**Michel Protti will remain as my chief of staff, and will play a vital role in keeping me sane and all of us on track. Marta Nichols will help Michel through a transition as she determines her next role.

**Sam Shrauger is leaving the company and Penny Baldwin will transition her duties to Mollie. I want to thank Penny for leading the Marketing organization as acting CMO. Please join me in wishing them both well in their future endeavors.

As you’ve heard me say before, our largest competitive advantage is that we have amazing people. I want to help unleash our power, and I want to hear your challenges, successes, and how you are going to focus on transforming Yahoo!. Look for frequent and transparent communications from me, and I look forward to hearing from you.


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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post