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Yahoo hires new ad sales head from Washington Post

After ousting COO Henrique de Castro in January, the Internet giant is bringing on the venerable newspaper's former chief revenue officer.

Yahoo has brought in the Washington Post's former chief revenue officer to try and turn around slumping revenue. Richard Nieva/CNET

Yahoo has hired the Washington Post's former chief revenue officer to become the Internet giant's head of North American advertising sales, the newspaper announced on Tuesday. Yahoo confirmed the hire to CNET.

The newspaper said that its revenue chief, Kevin Gentzel, will step down from his role at the Post, but it's unclear when he will start at Yahoo. Under his tenure at the Post, the newspaper experienced its largest year of digital advertising revenue, in 2013, the Post said.

"It had to be an opportunity of this magnitude for me to even consider leaving The Washington Post, a brand I have long revered, and this team, for which I have the deepest respect and admiration," Gentzel said in a statement.

At Yahoo, Gentzel will report to Ned Brody, the company's head of Americas. The company has been looking for an advertising executive to help turn around the company since CEO Marissa Mayer fired COO Henrique de Castro in January.

De Castro was Mayer's first major hire after she took over as CEO in 2012, hand-picking him from their time together working at Google. Part of his job at Yahoo was to bolster the company's relationship with advertising agencies in an attempt to kickstart the business.

Gentzel will join Yahoo at a time of heightened scrutiny for the company. Yahoo is in the midst of an attempted turnaround as it tries to rejuvenate its ailing core products and advertising business. The company has already refreshed each of its mobile properties, including Yahoo Sports and Finance, but the updated product suite has yet to rock Yahoo's bottom line. The company doesn't break out mobile revenue, and display-ad revenue -- an important financial metric for the company -- slumped 7 percent last quarter.

Before joining the Washington Post, Gentzel worked at the online video service News Distribution Network and spent 13 years at Forbes. At the Post, Gentzel help launch the newspaper's native advertising platform, BrandConnect. Native advertising refers to ads that look and feel more like editorial content, instead of being cordoned off like traditional ads.

Yahoo has said it's putting a big emphasis on native advertising. In February, the company launched Gemini, a platform for native ads, particularly focused on mobile devices. The company has not yet broken out revenue figures related to the platform.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. PT with Yahoo confirmation.