Marissa Mayer gets her hands dirty in 2014
The exit yesterday of Yahoo’s Jai Singh from the post of editor in chief helped flesh out C.E.O. Marissa Mayer’s priorities for the company going into 2014.
Re/code co-founder Kara Swisher first reported that news yesterday. Singh wasn’t one of C.E.O. Marissa Mayer’s hires—he came from the Huffington Post in 2011, Mayer arrived in 2012—and Mayer has been hands-on about Yahoo’s content strategy, spearheading big hires like Katie Couric and former New York Times journalists Matt Bai and David Pogue, and establishing Megan Liberman as news editor.
In a memo to staff Wednesday, Mayer announced that media and editorial operations at the portal will now report to the Chief Marketing Officer, Kathy Savitt, a move that, Swisher notes, might rankle career journalists like Singh (not to mention Bai, Pogue or Liberman).
The reorganization of Yahoo’s leadership on content mirrors the active role Mayer is taking in bringing Yahoo’s content message to Madison Avenue. Her announcement about Savitt appeared low down in the memo about Mayer’s dismissal of C.O.O. Henrique de Castro. Mayer had poached de Castro from her former employer Google as one of her first hires after joining Yahoo. But De Castro was a “fish out of water” in meetings with the big brands Yahoo is targeting under Mayer, one ad buyer tells The Wall Street Journal.
Mayer has been assuming more responsibility for bulking up ad sales at the site. The C.E.O. was front and center at C.E.S. this month, wooing advertisers at dinners, and has made ad revenue a priority, sources told the Journal. It’s a new skill set for Mayer, who served primarily on the technology side at Google.
And her dismissal of de Castro must have been important, because it was expensive—more expensive even than initially believed. Executive compensation firm Equilar ran the advance metrics on his cash and stock package on Wednesday and found that he stands to walk away with a staggering $109 million for his 15 months on the job. Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici took a look at recent so-called “golden parachutes” and found that, should de Castro max out at that figure, it would make for one of the largest such exits in recent history, putting him among the ranks of Viacom’s Tom Freston and XTO Energy’s Bob Simpson, but behind GE’s Jack Welch. All the others were C.E.O.s.