April 7, 2012 12:42 am

Senior Yahoo product executive resigns

Blake Irving, Yahoo’s most senior product development executive, resigned from the struggling US internet company on Friday.

The departure capped a week that brought news of 2,000 job losses as Scott Thompson, its new chief executive, embarked on an overhaul intended to bring back growth.

A former executive from Microsoft’s internet division, Mr Irving was credited with streamlining some of Yahoo’s development efforts since being hired by the former chief executive Carol Bartz two years ago. However, that was not enough to put the company back on a path to growth or win back ground lost to Facebook and Google in recent years.

The future of the centralised product development group that Mr Irving headed had been thrown into question in recent days by the shake-up set in motion by Mr Thompson. On Tuesday, the chief executive said he planned to make the company “smaller [and] nimbler”, with a focus on a narrower range of activities: its core media and communications services, the platforms needed to support these, and a heightened focus on the use of its data to improve the quality of its services and returns to advertisers.

Among Mr Irving’s moves was to forge a link with Facebook that let Yahoo users log into its site using their identities from the social networking service. That was credited with keeping users on Yahoo longer and bringing more repeat visits, although it has not reversed the relative slide in the company’s share of the internet audience as Facebook itself has become a more important destination on the web.

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