Yahoo loses top media executive in turnaround bid


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 15

Yahoo Inc’s Mickie Rosen, the veteran entertainment executive hired to lead the company’s media business in 2011, is departing one year into chief executive officer Marissa Mayer’s attempt at a turnaround.

Rosen, who was senior vice president of global media, is leaving on Sept. 1 and will receive a severance package for termination “without cause,” according to a regulatory filing from the Sunnyvale, California-based company on Monday.

Mayer has emphasized online video, an area overseen by Rosen, as part of her effort to revive growth at the largest US Internet portal. Rosen’s departure follows Yahoo’s failed attempt to buy a majority stake in video site Dailymotion as well as a bid for Hulu LLC, which called off an auction this month.

Earlier on Monday, Yahoo director and activist investor Daniel Loeb said he was leaving the board and selling US$1.16 billion of his stake back to the company.

“Mickie has made tremendous contributions to Yahoo’s media business over the past two-and-a-half years, and we wish her all the best,” Sara Gorman, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating on the reason for her departure.

Yahoo shares fell 4.3 percent to US$27.86 at the close in New York, the biggest decline since June 24.

The drop came after Yahoo announced plans to repurchase 40 million shares at US$29.11 apiece from Loeb’s Third Point LLC, a sign that the hedge fund manager may see limited upside to Mayer’s turnaround plan.

Loeb is left with about 20 million shares, or less than a 2 percent stake. His allies on the board, Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf, are also stepping down, leaving Yahoo with seven directors.

Last week Yahoo reported second-quarter sales of US$1.07 billion, lower than analysts’ average estimate of US$1.08 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mayer has thus far focused on revamping products and improving worker morale at the expense of wooing advertisers, who continue to shift budgets to Google Inc and Facebook Inc.