Yahoo Promotes Lisa Utzschneider To CRO, Ned Brody Officially Out

Utzschneider YahooSometimes it takes a few bad dates before you find the one. So it would seem to be with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who after some less than ideal pairings with sales execs may have found her perfect match in Lisa Utzschneider.

Just nine months after her initial hire as head of sales for Yahoo in the Americas. Utzschneider has been promoted to chief revenue officer for all markets globally.

Utzschneider has logged time with advertising’s biggest sales organizations. She sold advertising at Microsoft for a decade before leaving for Amazon in 2008, when the online retailer first entered the advertising business.

“Lisa has been pivotal in structuring the sales teams across North and South America for growth,” Mayer said in a Tumblr post announcing the promotion. “She has successfully integrated sales across Yahoo, BrightRoll, Flurry and Tumblr to help bring new opportunities and tremendous value to advertisers.”

Utzschneider’s efforts may be helping. During the Yahoo Q2 earnings call on Tuesday, the company announced its price per ad and the number of ads had risen, which Mayer attributed to “improved sales execution,” especially with premium placements like the Yahoo home page.

A turnaround is desperately needed. In recent years many agencies and advertisers have decried a decline in sales prowess from Yahoo, chalked up in part to widespread layoffs that took place during previous CEO Carol Bartz’s era.

Among Mayer’s challenges when she took the company’s reins in 2012 was righting the ship, but her earliest big move in that area – the hire of Henrique de Castro – was an unmitigated disaster. De Castro was fired after just 15 months, having failed to impress the Yahoo rank and file or the company’s agency and brand customers.

Meanwhile Yahoo’s ad platform business has begun to grow and contribute more revenue to the company’s bottom line, thanks to the 2014 acquisitions of Flurry and BrightRoll. But these businesses are not the primary focus for Utzschneider’s teams. Rather, ad product head Prashant Fuloria reports to Mayer and is essentially Utzschneider’s equal at the company.

Brody Officially Exits

In a related development, Utzschneider’s predecessor, Ned Brody, has officially left Yahoo, a spokesperson has confirmed to AdExchanger.

That news will come as a surprise to few Yahoo observers (Re/Code reported his likely exit in June). When Utzschneider was hired last October, Yahoo started to ghost Brody, transferring him to a new position as SVP of advertising technology and strategy. That might have been a fit, but Yahoo’s ad platforms already had a boss at the time in Scott Burke. (Incidentally, Burke’s own status may be in question in the wake of Fuloria’s promotion, but that’s another story.)

Also out is Kevin Gentzel. Appointed to a senior sales role two weeks before Utzschneider’s hire, he left in mid-May and now serves as CRO of Gannett and USA Today.

Zach Rodgers contributed.

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