Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Mayer Tells Staff Barrett Officially Out at Yahoo

In news that comes as exactly no surprise, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has told senior staff that Chief Revenue Officer Michael Barrett will be leaving the company, according to people close to the situation.

While the complex paperwork is still being completed by HR head Jackie Reses, the departure became a foregone conclusion with the arrival of new COO Henrique De Castro, as AllThingsD had previously reported this week.

Yahoo could announce the news as early as today.

[UPDATE: Sources said that Mayer will have a 2 pm call with all sales management about the shift. It is not clear whom she will name to take over for Barrett, if anyone.]

Both De Castro and Barrett — senior sales execs — had worked together at Google, where Mayer also came to Yahoo from, but had a rocky relationship there.

That aside, the real out for Barrett at Yahoo is that his contract calls for him to report directly to the CEO. He had been hired last June by former interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. In the new configuration, had he stayed, Barrett would have presumably been managed by De Castro.

Mayer has shown little interest so far in her tenure — she was hired in July — in the key advertising side of the business. According to numerous sources, she has spent a negligible amount of time with sales execs, including Barrett.

One glitch with Barrett’s leaving is that Yahoo said that De Castro might not be able to start until after the new year, which sources said is due to issues still being worked out around his Google employment.

That means that while Yahoo has many senior ad execs, there is not one in charge of all of them or someone who is the face of sales to marketers and ad agencies. That’s clearly a problem unless Mayer engages aggressively with advertisers herself, which she is not expected to do until after the new year.

While only a few months away, when De Castro gets there to take up the slack, advertising is what keeps the lights on at Yahoo. In addition to its premium display and ad-serving businesses, she must also focus on its search business, which has been waning since Yahoo hooked up with Microsoft several years ago.

And, oh yes, she has to fix the product pipeline and innovation issues. Send this CEO a Red Bull, stat!

Barrett had already sought to leave Yahoo previous to De Castro’s hiring, despite a public statement that he would stay. But Mayer had been resistant to pay out his lucrative severance contract, worth many millions of dollars.

No longer, it seems.

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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