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Yahoo announces third reorganisation

Online giant to become 'starting point' for web users

Yahoo has announced another reorganisation in a bid to turn around its fortunes.

The ailing search company now plans to centralise its product development operations so it can obtain its goals of being the 'starting point' for most web users and a 'must buy' for most online advertisers.

It will also create a business region just for the US and its end-users, advertisers and web publishers. In addition, Yahoo will form what it calls an "insights strategy team" and enhance its technology infrastructure so that product designers and engineers will communicate and collaborate better.

"These moves accelerate the ability of our deep and talented team to build great products, grow our audiences and improve monetisation globally," said Jerry Yang, Yahoo's CEO.

There will be three new teams reporting to president Sue Decker. The Audience Products Division will oversee product strategy and product management and be led by Ash Patel, former manager of Yahoo's Platforms & Infrastructure group while the US region will be led by Hilary Schneider, previously chief of the company's Global Partner Solutions group. These will be joined by the Insights Strategy, which is in charge of centralising and executing "a common strategy for the use of data and analysis across Yahoo". The chief executive of this group has yet to be named.

The new organisational structure will improve Yahoo's products and speed up decisions, the company said.

In technology and infrastructure, chief technology officer Ari Balogh will be in charge of developing a 'world class' cloud computing and storage infrastructure, unifying platforms and improving the communication between product developers and engineers.

As a result, Yahoo will create a Cloud Computing and Data Infrastructure Group, and move all the teams that work on end-user services and sites to the Audience Technology Group under the guidance of Venkat Panchapakesan.

On paper, the reorganisation looks like it could help simplify and streamline key processes in order to help Yahoo achieve its key goals, said industry analyst Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence. However, it's hard to predict whether the plan will have its intended effects, because there are a lot of internal elements and dynamics that drive reorganisations but remain shrouded to outsiders, Sterling said.

"Reorganisations are very hard to second-guess because you don't necessarily know the people who are getting promoted or shifted around, and you don't see a lot of the internal considerations driving the decisions," Sterling said. "There's a lot of opacity there."

Based on their track records, the people being put in charge as part of the reorganisation seem capable and respected, and it will be key for them to inspire confidence in the employees and generate enthusiasm among them, Sterling said. "You can reorganise and reorganise, but if you don't have strong leaders and engaged employees, then you won't get the desired results," he said.

NEXT PAGE: More expert opinion on the reorganisation of Yahoo


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