Three more top execs leaving Yahoo; reorg coming

Three high-level executives--Qi Lu, Brad Garlinghouse, and Vish Makhijani--are leaving the Internet company. Is their departure the cause or result of coming reorg?

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science. Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
3 min read
Qi Lu
Qi Lu Yahoo

The executive parade from Yahoo could well be getting a lot longer.

Three more executives are leaving the company: Qi Lu, executive vice president of engineering for search and advertising technology; Brad Garlinghouse, senior vice president of communications and community; and Vish Makhijani, senior vice president of search, TechCrunch reported Thursday.

Yahoo didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Update 12:17 p.m. PDT: Lu, who leads search and monetization work at Yahoo, can't be in an easy position. Yahoo just announced a major agreement under which Google--Yahoo's top rival--will supply its own search ads next to Yahoo's search results.

, in which he complained, "We want to do everything and be everything--to everyone...The result: a thin layer of investment spread across everything we do and thus we focus on nothing in particular."

The pressure has to be strong for Makhijani, too. Yahoo is interested in search, but in the last year, search queries performed at Yahoo in May declined 13.8 percent to 1.33 billion while Google's increased to 4.65 billion, according to statistics released Thursday by Nielsen Online. And third-place Microsoft, whose search queries increased 72 percent to 1.04 billion, is trying to poach Yahoo search employees.

Yahoo already lost several high-level executives in the last week:

Brad Garlinghouse
Brad Garlinghouse Stephen Shankland/CNET News.com

• Jeff Weiner, executive vice president of the network division.

• Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, the husband-and-wife co-founders of Flickr.

• Usama Fayyad, chief data officer and executive vice president of research and strategic data solutions.

• Jeremy Zawodny, an evangelist of what's now become the Yahoo Open Strategy.

• Jason Zajac, who has been general manager of social media, head of finance for the audience division, and vice president of corporate strategy.

Update 1:17 p.m. PDT: A source familiar with Yahoo's situation confirmed that Lu is in fact leaving the company.

Update 3:40 p.m. PDT: Yahoo offered a statement, but it's only general:

"We have a deep and talented management team across all areas of the company. Our successful implementation of our core strategies and the timely rollout of key products this year testifies to the effectiveness of our team, and we continue to recruit outstanding talent. Yahoo continues to be a leader in our industry and remains a unique, exciting, and important place to work even as we experience the attrition that's to be expected in the Internet industry."

I have to wonder: Is this the level at which attrition is "expected"?

Update 5:07 p.m. PDT: I've confirmed all three departures from multiple sources familiar with the situation.

And there's more: Yahoo plans a major reorganization, potentially to be announced as soon as next week, one source said. This change will be of much bigger magnitude than the rejiggerings of recent quarters.

"It's definitely not a shuffle," the source said. But while some have called for the ouster of Chief Executive Jerry Yang, the change won't affect him or President Susan Decker, apparently. And it likely won't involve layoffs.

One factor contributing to some of the executive departures is dissatisfaction with how they'd end up after the reorganization, the source said. Another is what amounted to the choice of recommitting to Yahoo or moving on.

But one source within the company had a more skeptical view of the reorganization, believing it a forced reaction to executive departures rather than the cause.

"You can see that Jerry does not have the support of the leadership inside Yahoo," the source said.

Update 6:34 p.m. PDT: The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the reorganization will centralize product groups into a central product organization.