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Yahoo reshuffles top execs

The Web portal reorganizes its senior executive reporting structure, solidifying operational control of Chief Operating Officer Daniel Rosensweig.

Yahoo has reorganized its senior ranks as it continues to seek new sources of revenue to balance the portal's heavy reliance on advertising.

The new executive reporting structure, laid out in an Oct. 28 memo, polishes a major overhaul crafted last year by CEO Terry Semel, who consolidated Yahoo's then-sprawling 44-unit structure to six core areas.

Last month's move throws out the old business categories of commerce, listings, media, communications, enterprise and access, further reducing the major business divisions in the company to five.

The new major divisions are search and marketplace, media and sales, consumer services, network services and enterprise solutions.

Analysts said the changes do not seem to reflect a significant departure from last year's blueprint, although the new structure shifts the balance of power among Yahoo's top executives.

Among other things, the moves solidify the operational control of Dan Rosensweig, who was appointed chief operating officer in April. Rosensweig was the former president of CNET Networks, publisher of News.com.

"We will continue to evolve the organization to focus on the right things, and this continues that evolutionary process," Rosensweig said in an interview.

The changes come as Yahoo has returned to profitability a year and a half after Semel took command, shaking up the old company with a new business model and packing the top ranks with executives steeped in traditional media businesses.

The most notable change in the reorganization is the reduced role of Greg Coleman, the company's executive vice president of North American operations. Coleman, who once managed the sales and business operations for the entire company, will now oversee the company's media properties and its sales operations.

Before Rosensweig joined Yahoo, business unit heads reported directly to Coleman, a former Reader's Digest executive tapped in March 2001 by former COO Jeff Mallett. However, Coleman's role in the company has been vague since Semel took the helm last year, a situation exacerbated by Rosensweig's appointment.

Coleman will take on this new role because it fits with his sales and media experience, Rosensweig said.

The company's top operations executives, who will all report to Rosensweig, are now the following:

• Greg Coleman, executive vice president of media and sales
Coleman will oversee Yahoo's sales, media and entertainment properties, HotJobs and strategic alliances. Coleman will also head efforts to build out broadband content and develop creative advertising programs. Executives such as media and entertainment head Jim Moloshok, sales head Wenda Millard, Launch.com's Dave Goldberg and HotJobs' Dan Finnigan will report to Coleman.

• Jeff Weiner, senior vice president, search and marketplace
The former Warner Bros. executive brought on board by Semel will head a new business unit combining the commerce and listings businesses. Weiner, who used to run corporate development with former Allen & Co. executive Toby Coppel, will be responsible for incorporating search into more areas on Yahoo while maintaining the company's lucrative deal with Overture Services. Former commerce head Rob Solomon and former listings head Elizabeth Blair will report to Weiner. Coppel will head corporate development.

• Jim Brock, senior vice president of consumer services
Brock will continue to spearhead Yahoo's Internet access and wireless efforts. Yahoo recently launched a digital subscriber line (DSL) product with SBC Communications and has said publicly that it is engaged in ongoing discussions with other cable and telecommunications companies. Brock's responsibilities will also extend to developing premium services bundled onto Yahoo's broadband partnerships.

• Geoff Ralston, senior vice president, network services
Ralston expanded his responsibilities in August when Yahoo veteran Tim Brady left the company. Besides heading communications such as personals, e-mail and instant messaging, Ralston will control what goes on Yahoo's home page, its central services such as billing and registration, and the overall design of the site. Yahoo veterans Henry Sohn and Srinija Srinivasan will now report to Ralston.

• Steve Boom, senior vice president for enterprise solutions
Boom became head of Yahoo's enterprise business when former head James Fanella left the company in October. Boom, who formerly ran enterprise services' European business, will be responsible for selling Yahoo's portal services to corporations.