Some executive musical chairs and an interesting poach/hire at Yahoo, announced today. The company has named Lisa Utzschneider as its SVP of sales for the Americas, nabbing her from Amazon, where she was VP, global advertising sales and had been with the company since 2008. Meanwhile, Ned Brody, who had been in the Americas role, is taking a new position as SVP, advertising technology and strategy.
The news confirms a report in Re/code on October 27 hinting of the hire. Amazon earlier today confirmed Utzschneider’s departure to AdAge, although it incorrectly speculated that she could be joining Yahoo to fill the COO role vacated back in January by Henrique de Castro. Seth Dallaire, who currently runs North America sales for Amazon, will be taking her position at e-commerce giant.
The news comes as Yahoo reported earnings that exceeded expectations last week, but boosted by huge gains from its Alibaba stake rather than because of organic sales growth. Investors are watching the company keenly to see that Marissa is following through on strategies to rejuvenate the company’s business with ad tech and a number of acquisitions to bolster that and other areas like mobile.
The Americas are by far the biggest region for Yahoo in terms of ad sales revenues, accounting for $831 million of Yahoo’s $1.094 billion in sales revenue in Q3.
At Yahoo, Utzschneider will report directly to CEO Marissa Mayer.
“Lisa has a demonstrated track record as a leader and as a business builder, focused on creating and expanding sales relationships as well as scaling technological innovation,” Mayer said in a statement. “She brings unique strengths to Yahoo in terms of identifying new opportunities to maximize the value of advertising in a rapidly expanding and evolving media landscape.”
At Amazon, Utzschneider’s primary role was to focus on display ads covering Amazon.com, as well as other sites that it owns like IMDb and DPReview.
As Yahoo has made efforts to upgrade its content and mobile offerings over the last several months, that will widen the funnel significantly for the kinds of challenges that Utzschneider will tackle in her new role.
“I am thrilled to join Yahoo and to build on the proven assets the company has developed across the advertising space,” said Utzschneider. “I look forward to working with this team and with Yahoo’s technology platforms to deliver value to advertisers and to delight consumers with unique and personalized ads.”
Before Amazon, Utzschneider spent a decade at Microsoft.
Yahoo did not spend much time in the Utzschneider release talking about the person she is replacing but it is interesting in itself, too, with Ned Brody taking on a newly-created ad tech role.
Brody was in SVP for sales in the Americas for a little over a year, coming to Yahoo from AOL (owner of TechCrunch), where he was in charge of AOL Networks. Ad tech is seen by many as the grease for Yahoo’s creaky advertising wheels: while it may never have the scale of Google in search ads, having more clever technology behind how ads are created and served could help Yahoo create better margins on the sales that it does make, and help boost growth in the process. Or so the thinking goes.
Yahoo says that after Brody makes the transition to the new role he will “focus on the deployment of advertising technologies and go to market strategies for Yahoo across it’s advertising portfolio.” [sic]