Peter Kafka

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Yahoo Strategy Guru Jim Heckman Leaves

Here’s another Yahoo executive departure in the wake of Marissa Mayer’s arrival: Jim Heckman, the company’s SVP of strategy, is out.

This one was very much expected, as Heckman was closely tied to former interim CEO Ross Levinsohn.

Heckman came aboard Yahoo when the company acquired his 5to1 ad start-up in May 2011; since then he had been a key lieutenant for Levinsohn and had worked on a variety of ad and media deals, including a plan to link the company’s ad-selling operations with rivals Google, AOL and Microsoft.

Most recently, Heckman had been working on a plan to outsource much of Yahoo’s ad-tech operations.

The company was considering a number of options, including one that would have involved handing over big chunks of its display-ad serving to Google. That version of the plan would have been fraught with regulatory risk, but both Google and Yahoo executives were optimistic they could get something done.

Heckman was a polarizing figure both in and outside of Yahoo, so it was hard to imagine a role for him in the Mayer regime.

No word on the future plans for two other key Levinsohn allies: Media head Mickie Rosen, and sales boss Michael Barrett, who just joined Yahoo after a short stint at Google.


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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