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Yahoo has lost another key executive and carried out a further reorganisation of the company as it struggles to adjust to a rapidly changing internet advertising landscape.
Yahoo said on Sunday that Wenda Millard, its chief sales officer in the US, was leaving immediately and it was merging its display and search advertising sales teams to serve its advertising partners better.
Ms Millard handled Yahoo’s display advertising and was an industry veteran who had greatly enhanced the company’s reputation with Madison Avenue.
Yahoo sought to play down the loss, hinting that she had been pushed out. Greg Coleman, executive vice president of global sales, said in a statement: “While Wenda was a big contributor to our success in the past, the industry has shifted and requires a different set of skills to take the business forward.”
However, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia later said that the 52-year-old would become president of media at the New York publisher, responsible for its online, publishing, television and radio interests.
Ms Millard was recruited in 2001 by Terry Semel, who stood down as chief executive last week and was replaced by Jerry Yang, Yahoo co-founder.
The company had also announced a further reorganisation - six months after a restructuring that had led to the departure of several senior executives.
The latest realignment puts David Karnstedt, currently senior vice president of its search advertising sales business, in the new post of head of North American sales – in charge of both search and display advertising.
Mr Karnstedt, Mr Coleman and Sue Decker, Yahoo’s new president, told Advertising Age magazine in an interview that the strategy was customer-focused.
“We didn’t make it easy for [marketers] because we’re calling them in a lot of different places,” said Ms. Decker. The executives cited a study by the comScore research firm that pointed to the increased power of both search and display when used in tandem.
Yahoo lost major ground to Google in search advertising and had to create a new platform, codenamed Panama, which is only now beginning to benefit its revenues. It leads in display advertising, but sales have been squeezed by the growth of social networking sites.
The announcement of Jerry Yang as chief executive was accompanied by a warning that revenues for the rest of the year would be at the lower end of forecasts due to the slowing growth of display advertising.