Kara Swisher

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Weiner Will Leave Yahoo, but Might Not Be Replaced


Jeff Weiner (pictured here), as BoomTown reported in a story broken by BoomTown Tuesday and also yesterday, will be leaving Yahoo (YHOO) to become an entrepreneur in residence at both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners.

But, despite a lot of speculation on the subject by sites like TechCrunch (whose curiously petulant lifting of actual reporting done by others–in this case, BoomTown–without any attribution is fast approaching pathetic), let’s try some more actual reporting:

Sources at the company said that Weiner will not likely be replaced as Network division head by one of his four direct reports.

Those execs are: Front Door and Network Services’ Tapan Bhat, Brad Garlinghouse, who heads Yahoo’s communications and communities arenas, Media Group head Scott Moore and Yahoo Search’s Vish Makhijani.


Instead, sources at the company think much of Weiner’s organization could be headed by Hilary Schneider (pictured here), who is EVP Global Partner Solutions, in order to better align Yahoo’s ad revenue-producing units with its products, software, search and services side.

Not having those responsible for selling ads in close sync with, for example, new content or software initiatives has produced a level of frustration with executive ranks at the company.

The setup would create more of a global product organization, with more integrated sales and product development.

“It would be nice to have sales in the room now, as we develop services, instead of totally separate,” said one exec at Yahoo.

Whatever the resulting organization, Weiner’s departure gives President Sue Decker the ability to more dramatically rejigger Yahoo’s top echelons to better focus the company on its stated objectives of becoming the premier ad network and a consumer “starting point.”

Schneider is a Decker favorite, having been brought to the company from Knight Ridder in the fall of 2006, making her a much later arrival to Yahoo than Weiner, who came in 2001.

She is very well-liked by Yahoo troops and is considered a strong leader at the company.

A move to give her more responsibility would also be accompanied by allowing Weiner’s reports to have more autonomy over their units.

It could also presage a move to make Decker the CEO eventually, with Schneider as her No. 2 and Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang as chairman.

Currently, the company is unlikely to make such a drastic change, especially since it is under siege in a proxy battle being waged by billionaire icon Carl Icahn.

Icahn has recently called for Yang’s ouster, in the wake of its failed takeover talks with Microsoft (MSFT), a fight that has tarnished both Yang and Decker on Wall Street and even within Yahoo ranks.

In any case, there is no timing on these moves as yet, as the company was caught unaware by Weiner’s plans, sources said, since he was on paternity leave.

Weiner had not indicated that he was considering leaving for good until recently, although many inside and outside the company had surmised that he would eventually leave after former CEO and Chairman Terry Semel did early in the year.

Weiner came to Yahoo with Semel and is a longtime protege of the former Hollywood exec.