Yahoo! Fine-Tunes Exec Suite, Names New Ad Sales Chief

On the eve of its closely watched third-quarter earnings announcement, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) said Tuesday it has hired former publishing executive and DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK) co-founder Wenda Harris Millard to head its advertising sales division.

“I firmly believe that the Internet is a powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal and I am more enthusiastic than ever about the strength of the medium,” Millard said, adding that she would seek to reinforce Yahoo’s position as a leader in online marketing.

Millard will take over as chief advertising sales officer and will be responsible for ad sales in North America. Millard comes to Yahoo! from Ziff Davis Media, where she was president of the publishing concern’s Internet division.

Millard previously served as an executive vice president with DoubleClick, where she led its 300-person media advertising sales organization.

Yahoo! executive vice president of North American operations Gregory Coleman touted Millard’s “broad experience” in both Internet and publishing sales management. Millard will report to Coleman in her new role.

Regional Regime

Millard’s appointment was one of several moves Yahoo! announced Tuesday, all pointing toward a beefed-up approach to selling advertising to a broader range of customers.

While Millard will be responsible for all North American ad sales, Yahoo! said it had put a network of senior-level, regional advertising executives in place to help target regional and local advertising.

In the Spotlight

Wednesday, Yahoo! will be one of the first online media companies to report earnings for the third quarter.

The company has been mostly mum on what effects the September 11th terrorist attacks, combined with a long-depressed online advertising market, will have, though chief executive officer Terry Semel did say recently that he sees the ad market staying quiet until mid-2002.

Semel, a former Warner Brothers executive who was tapped to lead Yahoo! in April of this year, has indicated he wants to move Yahoo! away from its long-held dependence on advertising revenue.

Yahoo! has made several moves in that direction, charging for some financial-based content, partnering with Sony for a broad marketing partnership and targeting the corporate market with several services, including video conferencing and Webcasting.

Problem Solving

The Sunnyvale, California-based portal also said Tuesday that it has created the role of “Chief Solutions Officer.”

That title will be held by Tim Sanders, who until recently oversaw Yahoo’s Valuelab, an in-house marketing consulting unit.

Sanders will focus on sales strategies, brand awareness and customer needs, Yahoo! said.

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