Kara Swisher

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As BoomTown Said, Microsoft’s Jeff Dossett Joins Yahoo–As Audience Head

About a month ago, BoomTown reported that MSN executive producer and general manager Jeff Dossett (pictured here) was contemplating joining Yahoo.

Microsoft (MSFT) released a statement that day saying Dossett was indeed stepping down from his MSN duties, as I had posted, but noted that he was staying put at the software giant.

Oops, it looks like I was right in my initial report: “The Secret Microsoft Invasion of Yahoo Continues: MSN GM Headed There Soon?”

Dossett has accepted a job as SVP, U.S. Audience at Yahoo, Yahoo (YHOO) said in a press release this afternoon.

“I am very excited about this new leadership opportunity at Yahoo,” wrote Dossett in an email to me. “Of course, I have great respect for my many friends and colleagues at Microsoft and I wish them well.”

But is the hire linked to my report earlier today of Yahoo Media Group SVP Scott Moore leaving?

You betcha, as Governor Sarah Palin says.

While the company had already been deep in conversations with Dossett for another job, as head of business development, management scrambled after Moore reportedly told Yahoo of his plans to leave a week ago.

After BoomTown this morning reported that Moore, as well as Yahoo News general manager Alan Warms, were departing later this week, Yahoo confirmed the departures this afternoon.

Dossett will report to Hilary Schneider, executive vice president of Yahoo U.S., and fill the role previously held by Moore, although the title is different. Yahoo said Moore was leaving “to pursue other opportunities.”

A Yahoo spokesman also said later about Warms:

“We’ve worked with Alan over the last couple of months on an orderly transition plan of his responsibilities over to Neeraj Khemlani, who will continue to lead Programming & Development for News & Information at Yahoo. We wish Alan much success in his future endeavors and know that Neeraj will continue driving Yahoo News to even greater success.”

Dossett will have presumably have purview over all that and more.

A longtime and experienced mountain climber, he has been one of the more senior digital execs at Microsoft.

The reason given for Dossett’s departure from Microsoft, announced internally in mid-September, was to also “pursue other opportunities” (I still love this phrase, as oily as it is.)

As I wrote then: “While the hire is not yet complete, that apparently means that he is likely going to rival and onetime Microsoft quarry Yahoo as a senior exec.”

It has all been an interesting digital-musical-chair trend, in fact. Also last month, another former Microsoft big shot, Joanne Bradford, started her job as Yahoo’s top U.S. ad sales exec.

Bradford came to Yahoo after a very short stint as national ad sales head at the trendy Los Angeles start-up, Spot Runner.

Previous to that, Bradford (pictured here) had been at Microsoft for many years, most recently as VP and chief media officer of MSN Media Network.

While at Microsoft, Jeff Dossett was a close colleague of Bradford, so his moving to Yahoo is probably not that much of a surprise.

Outgoing Yahoo Media Group SVP Moore, who has been at Yahoo since 2005, is another former Microsoft digital exec, where he worked all over the company.

In his job at MSN, Dossett was the lead for audience, content and programming strategy and execution in the U.S.

He had worked at the company since 1991, in a variety of sales and marketing jobs in Canada, and later worked on strategy and business development for MSN.

Dossett was also CEO of Carpoint, now MSN Autos, and was GM of its real estate arm.

He also took two years off from Microsoft in 2002 to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, finally reaching the summit of Mount Everest in May of 2004.

Dossett reached the summit of Everest again for a second time this past May.

Here is Yahoo’s press release about his appointment in its entirety:


SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 3, 2008–Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) today announced that Jeff Dossett has joined Yahoo! as senior vice president, U.S. Audience. Dossett will oversee Yahoo!’s consumer experiences in the U.S., including the company’s leading media properties, which maintain the number one or two position in virtually every category in which they compete. Dossett will report to Hilary Schneider, executive vice president of Yahoo! U.S., and fill the role previously held by Scott Moore who is leaving Yahoo! to pursue other opportunities.

“Jeff is one of the country’s most experienced online media executives, and I’m confident he is well-suited to lead Yahoo!’s audience business to even greater heights,” said Schneider. “His understanding of consumer needs and high-quality premium programming will help ensure that we continue with Yahoo!’s reputation of inspiring audiences and attracting marketer dollars.”

Schneider continued, “I would also like to thank Scott for his leadership over the past few years. Yahoo! enjoys an extraordinary market position across nearly every category in which we compete, and Scott has been an important leader in building this success.”

Prior to joining Yahoo!, Dossett served as executive producer and general manager for the MSN Media Network, where he was responsible for leading strategy and execution for MSN’s audience, content and programming in the U.S. Dossett joined MSN in 2000, and held a variety of leadership positions, including Chairman and CEO of MSN Carpoint® (now MSN Autos), DealerPoint and general manager of MSN HomeAdvisor® (now MSN Real Estate & MSN Lifestyle). Dossett originally joined Microsoft in 1991.

“Over the past few months alone, major events such as the Olympics, the financial crisis, and the U.S. election have helped illustrate that–more than ever–Yahoo! is the one of the first places consumers turn for information that matters to them most,” said Dossett. “I’m impressed by the unique market position that Yahoo! has created for itself, and I can’t wait to work with this team and build on this tremendous opportunity.”

In 2002, Dossett took two years away from his career at Microsoft to pursue his passion for adventure with a goal to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, known as the “Seven Summits.” Reaching the summit of Mount Everest on May 24, 2004, Dossett became the third Canadian in history to successfully complete the Seven Summits. On May 22nd, 2008, Jeff became the second Canadian in history to reach the summit Mount Everest for the second time. He serves on the Board of Advisors of VillageReach (www.villagereach.org), GOOD Worldwide Inc. (www.good.is), and Live Mocha (www.livemocha.com). Dossett holds a degree in business administration with honors from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.