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Yahoo moves to centralised management model

Ian Grant

New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz yesterday unveiled a centralised management structure that she hopes will make the advertisement-serving and search firm more responsive to customer needs.

The reorganisation, the latest in a string that began when co-founder Jerry Yang turned down a $47.5bn merger offer from Microsoft, splits the world into two divisions, the US and the rest. Bartz hopes this will be the last for the next two to four years.

Analysts are still looking for the former Autodesk CEO to indicate a direction for the company. Before she can do that,Bartz has two key appointments to make, that of CFO and the head of the Connected Life group, which aims to put Yahoo products on mobile devices.

But it is Yahoo's search business that concerns most observers. Yahoo Search runs a distant second to Google, which holds nearly two-thirds of the market. An antitrust review scuppered a deal to sell the division to Google. Bartz said she would still consider offers for it, possibly putting Microsoft or AOL into the frame for a deal.

The advertising division is suffering in the recession, but it is well-positioned to take advantage of the marketers' switch from paper to electronic media.

The company announced this week that it would introduce new technology to deliver targeted advertising based on a user's online behaviour. While this might appeal to advertisers because it reduces adspend waste, it could face legal challenges from privacy advocates.

The new structure also means that all its technology and product groups will report to CTO Ari Balogh.

"We will be able to make speedier decisions, the notorious silos are gone, and we have a renewed focus on the customer," Bartz told staff.


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