(Hint: Not a lot of Yahoos.)
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong just sent out a memo titled “Moving Forward” to the staffs of AOL and Yahoo about who will be the leaders of the combined company after Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo is complete.
No surprise: Not a lot of Yahoos have emerged from the internet cage match. Just four execs from the troubled internet giant will fill top roles.
And no kidding on the battle reference — sources said the negotiations that have exited much of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s team were fraught, especially since she had extended what have been described to me by many as “obscene” compensation packages that included hefty severance agreements.
Much like the new tax plan just rolled out by President Donald Trump, the rich indeed do get richer!
Recode had previously reported on the likely departures — including Mayer, who gets a big payoff — and it’s pretty much that. The gone include CFO Ken Goldman, CRO Lisa Utzschneider and Swiss-Army-knife guy Adam Cahan.
And the leftovers? Nice-guy Yahoo Jeff Bonforte will lead communications, data and search; smart-guy Simon Khalaf will head media brands and products; also-smart-guy Atte Lahtiranta will head technology; and happy-guy John DeVine will head global sales and customer operations.
Let’s be clear, these are key jobs going forward at AOL-Yahoo — which is under the Oath umbrella — with critical consumer-facing roles and also revenue. But most of Mayer’s leadership has left.
In Armstrong’s memo, he also notes that Yahoo co-founder David Filo — once a big Mayer backer — and techies Laurie Mann and Jay Rossiter will serve on a tech council to do tech things. Also staying is Asia head Rose Tsou, who will get a bigger international portfolio in that region.
(In the memo, he also used a quote by coach John Wooden: “Never mistake activity for achievement.” While Armstrong has never met a sports metaphor he did not love to use, I can’t help but think that is a Freudian slip of a reference to Yahoo’s travails under Mayer.)
You read what you like into it — here’s the full memo about the deal that is finally coming to fruition after much hacking mishegas:
Even though we are not yet closed, the management teams from both companies have been busy planning for the future. Today, we are taking our first important steps forward in our journey together by setting three simple post-closing objectives:
1. Build global brands people love
2. Build global brand platforms partners love
3. Build a global company talent loves
Driving these objectives post-close will be the job of our leaders — and you. The go-forward leadership team was selected on the following principles:
1. Built for Talent: Talented people are attracted to environments where they can have an impact, are able to use all of their talents, produce great work, and be challenged. Our leadership team puts talent first and is expected to build an amazing cast while they build an amazing performance. We want leaders who care about every position and every function. Leaders make talented people more talented – and they enjoy that process.
2. Built on Technology: While all the skills on the team are critical, we want to compete on digital foundations of technology and product. We are leaning into a leadership team that is technically enabled. Most companies in the world are trying to move their businesses to technology-enabled platforms — we are already there and we are going to double down. The executive team is expected to drive technology, data, and platforms into all areas of our operations.
3. Built for Brands: We operate and partner with some of the most powerful brands in the world. Brands and brands platforms will become increasingly important as technology scales — brands create a trust factor for the human experience. From award-winning journalists on the front line of brands like HuffPost or Yahoo News to the engineers ensuring trustworthy platforms like Flurry, Brightroll and ONE, everyone is responsible for building brands — our brands and partner brands. We are looking for leaders that can drive impact in the consumer and customer marketplace. As the famous coach John Wooden said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” We want achievement leaders who will grow brands and platforms in the marketplace.
Between now and the close of the deal, the leadership team will be planning the strategy and structure to drive our three objectives. Here is our go forward leadership team post-close:
Jeff Bonforte, Communications, Data and Search
Simon Khalaf, Media Brands and Products
Tim Mahlman, Programmatic Ad Tech Platforms
Ralf Jacob, Digital Media Services Platforms
John DeVine, Global Sales and Customer Operations
Allie Kline, Marketing and Communications
Atte Lahtiranta, Technology
Holly Hess, Finance
Tim Lemmon, Operations & Search Partnerships
Bob Toohey, Human Resources
Julie Jacobs, Legal
Mark Roszkowski, Corporate Development, Strategy and Global Partnerships
Nate Kanefield, COS
Engineering and technology systems are a critical organization and we will use engineering leadership to help us future-ready the company post close. We are asking David Filo, Jay Rossiter, Atte Lahtiranta, Laurie Mann, and Bill Pence to design and create an expanded tech council that, starting at close, will review all aspects of the company and implement technology enabled solutions as well as global technical standards.
Additionally, given our growth objectives, it is also critical that we have a set of regional leaders post-close that both localize our global go to market strategy and help set the overall strategy for deeper expansions into global markets. Rose Tsou, the current Yahoo head of Asia-Pacific, will lead our combined APAC operations. The Americas and EMEA leadership structures are still in planning phase and will be announced as soon as possible. Our APAC, EMEA, and Americas market leaders will report to John DeVine.
Many of you will have questions about next steps and we want to do everything we can within the pre-close limits to answer them. On May 3 (1 PM EST / 10 AM PST), I will host a live stream to talk through a high level summary of our go forward strategy process and our next steps before the anticipated closing in Q2. Most of the time will be spent answering questions which anyone can submit here: AOL http://bit.ly/2qcqDa7; Yahoo https://backyard.yahoo.com/qna/oathmeeting/050317. Given we are still pre-close, this meeting is optional for AOLers and Yahoos — everyone is welcome and we will make the video available on AOL’s Inside and Yahoo’s Backyard (available for 24 hours) shortly after. The full strategy and structure will be reviewed at the close of the deal.
Both executive teams are working incredibly hard on planning the integration of the companies, and I would like to thank everyone who is helping us take the necessary steps to set the combined company up for the next part of our journey.