Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yahoo ad sales defections continue

The defection of members of the Yahoo advertising group took a double-dip today: both Jerry Shereshewsky, who had perhaps the world's oddest title (Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Madison Avenue) and Steve Mitgang, who most recently held the title, senior vp, advertising platforms and products, are both taking CEO posts elsewhere in the Internet universe. As was Wenda Harris Millard, who recently left for Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Jerry, was truly the public face of Yahoo, at least in the advertising industry. It was pretty hard to attend an Internet advertising event over the last five years or so, and not see Jerry there. He's taking the helm at—an idea whose time has come—where he'll no doubt continue in that role. As for Mitgang, he was deeply involved with Project Panama—Yahoo's revamp of its search advertising platform, and he'll be taking the reins at Veoh, one of the emerging players in the Internet video industry. (Dmitry Shapiro, the passionate founder of Veoh, CEO will continue on as chief innovation officer.) To get back to the Yahoo angle, it's hardly a shock to see Shereshewsky leaving. In a sense, Yahoo is going back to the future, trading in Terry Semel for Jerry Yang, who founded the company and, its relationships with advertisers and agencies having been solidified, focusing more on the tech-heavy side of online advertising. As for Mitgang, it's a little tougher to see, since the overriding goal of the ad revenue side of Yahoo's business is to wed search with display, and search seems to be the coin of the realm in Santa Clara these days. On the other hand, I'm just someone sitting in her home office trying to read a few tea leaves.

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