Yahoo Gets New PR Head From NetApp–The Internal Memo (Natch!)

Published on June 2, 2009
by Kara Swisher


New Yahoo Marketing head Elisa Steele named a colleague from her former job, NetApp (NTAP), as SVP of Global Communications at the Internet giant.

Eric Brown (pictured here) was the VP of corporate relations at the data storage company, on whose board Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has also served. Before that, he was at Adaptec (ADPT).

Brown will report to Steele and start at the company in July.

Brown is filling a slot left when former Yahoo PR head Jill Nash left at Yahoo in February. She was briefly replaced by her deputy Brad Williams, who was laid off from Yahoo in a recent round of cuts.

He is also yet another executive from the business software arena to be hired under Bartz, who also comes from that background. Bartz also hired Jeff Russakow from Symantec (SYMC), which makes antivirus software and other security for the post of Customer Advocacy SVP.

It’ll be interesting to see how they all operate in a consumer-facing company like Yahoo, with all its many dramatic ups and downs of late, and which BoomTown has often compared to a Mexican telenovela.

Here’s Steele’s memo to the Yahoo (YHOO) staff, which includes a self-described “bad habit of eating ice cream in bed while reading my Kindle and surfing the web.”

(BoomTown can’t make this stuff up!)

Here’s the internal memo:

Marketing & Executive Teams,

I’m very pleased to announce that Eric Brown will be joining Yahoo! as Senior Vice President, Global Communications, reporting directly to me. In this critical role, Eric will oversee our Global Communications function, including public relations, product promotion, executive communications, public affairs, internal communications, corporate reputation management and social media outreach.

Eric is joining Yahoo! at a particularly pivotal time, as we update our corporate position and message, develop and execute a renewed global brand strategy and launch major new products and solutions. Eric will be tasked with more closely integrating the global communications team with broader marketing initiatives and the company’s overall business strategy. A critical objective will be to set the communications agenda and drive Yahoo!’s message to our various constituencies–the media, analysts, consumers, employees, and key industry influencers who create buzz and can have a significant impact on how our brand is perceived.

Eric is a Silicon Valley communications veteran with 18 years of tech experience. Most recently, Eric and I collaborated at NetApp, where he spent the last nine years helping to transform the company into a multibillion dollar global enterprise. As Vice President of Corporate Relations, Eric managed a large global team and strategic communications program. He was the core communications executive responsible for the company’s recent revamp of brand strategy and execution. He also played a significant communications role in helping the company gain recognition by Fortune magazine as the “Best Company to Work for in America” in 2009. Prior to NetApp, Eric was the head of PR for Adaptec responsible for B2B, brand and consumer communications, and held additional leadership positions in both corporate and agency environments.

On a personal note, Eric’s partner’s name is Scot, he has a Pomeranian named Clio, a passion for cooking and travel, and a self-described “bad habit of eating ice cream in bed while reading my Kindle and surfing the web.”

Eric will join us in early July, so please join me in giving him a warm welcome. I look forward to his leadership contributions in this vitally important role at Yahoo!.

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