Yahoo! names global CMO

Yahoo! has appointed Kathy Savitt, the founder and chief executive of social-commerce startup Lockerz, as its global chief marketing officer.

Yahoo

She will join Yahoo! next month to replace Mollie Spilman.

Yahoo! highlighted Savitt’s consumer, retail and technology background, as well as her experience in strategic product development and marketing as key to her appointment.

Lockerz has already built up a base of 45 million unique users. Savitt has also worked for Amazon.com and American Eagle Outfitters.

Spilman had run Yahoo!’s Americas marketing for two years, before being appointed CMO in July this year by interim chief executive Ross Levinsohn. Levinsohn was overlooked for the permanent CEO role and Yahoo! appointed Marissa Mayer, the former Google executive earlier this year.

Since her appointment, Mayer – Yahoo!’s fifth CEO in three years – has overhauled the senior management team.

Mayer’s appointment signalled a shift in focus for Yahoo! towards product innovation across services such as its homepage, email, search and mobile. Previously the company has focused on forging media partnerships with brands to bolster its online content offering to drive advertising revenues.

Mayer says: “We are very excited to welcome Kathy to Yahoo. Her extensive experience in building and refining well-loved consumer brands like Amazon, American Eagle Outfitters and Lockerz will be incredibly valuable as we define Yahoo’s future.”

Yahoo! has struggled to compete with rival search engines as well as the growing popularity of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Visitors on average spent less than two hours, 15 minutes on Yahoo! pages in March, compared with more than six hours for Facebook, according to Comscore.

It has also posted three straight years of revenue declines amid turnover in the executive ranks and its shares have declined 7.9 percent this year.

The company has also struggled with its marketing strategy. Spilman’s predecessor, Elisa Steele, led Yahoo!’s widely criticised 2009 “It’s You” brand campaign and her role was effectively axed earlier this year as the company looked to decentralise its marketing activity in favour of more regional output.

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