Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Yahoo’s Longtime HR Head David Windley Out

David Windley

As I reported earlier today, new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is shaking up the human resources unit at the company.

Consider it shook and definitely not stirred: Leaving the company, by mutual agreement, is its longtime head David Windley, several sources said.

Also out is his No. 2 exec, several sources said, talent acquisition head Grant Bassett. Both have been replaced by another Yahoo HR exec Kristen Robinson on interim basis. (In another big HR departure, international head Marc Ketzel just left for a top HR job at Samsung.)

Windley’s tenure has included a huge brain drain at the Silicon Valley Internet giant and a series of layoffs at Yahoo, as well as an ongoing musical-chair series of top leaders.

Yahoo, keeping with a spanking new policy of non-communication, has not returned an email seeking comment.

Windley’s leaving comes as exactly no surprise, since Mayer has arrived and taken control of its culture and recruiting, which have basically boiled down to making a Yahoo version of the search giant. Before taking the top job at Yahoo, Mayer worked at Google for her entire career.

As I wrote earlier: “While free food and better swag have attracted attention, Mayer has also plunged into the recruiting arena aggressively. She is now reviewing all new hires personally — another steal, um, borrow, from Google — and has also begun to require a much more stringent set of standards.

That has included the requirement of the addition of solid college grade-point averages and a preference for higher-level educational institutions for incoming resumes.”

Windley follows former interim CEO Ross Levinsohn out the door as Mayer begins her house-cleaning of the current crop of exec at Yahoo, while searching her her own team.

Mayer is reaching out to a number of execs outside the company, including Twitter exec Katie Stanton, as well as perusing at a series of start-ups to bring new people into the company.

She has made two hires of mid-level execs from Google — both of whom have been described to me as longtime Mayer loyalists. But she has still to pull in a big name or deeply experienced exec to her team.

We’ll be watching for that, of course, as well as who’s next to go in this game of “10 Little Yahoos.” Several sources at the company said that they expect Mayer to replace almost the entire current executive team, from its CFO Tim Morse on down.


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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