Yahoo has named Michael Barrett its new evp and chief revenue officer. When Barrett officially rejoins Yahoo early next month—he had a stint as Yahoo’s svp of e-commerce in 1999—he will oversee the company’s advertising revenue and operations and will report to Yahoo’s interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. All Things D first reported news of the hire this morning.
"Michael Barrett is regarded as one of the most successful and influential executives in media and technology, and I am thrilled to have him join Yahoo! in this critical role," Levinsohn said in a statement. "I am confident that his deep industry experience and relationships will help us drive our strategic vision, taking Yahoo's industry-leading position to the next level."
Barrett has a tall order ahead of him in turning around Yahoo’s advertising business. While Yahoo reversed search revenue’s five straight quarters of double-digit declines in Q1, its display business dropped 2 percent year-over-year after ending 2011 with zero growth. But Vik Kathuria, managing partner of corporate strategy and digital investment at GroupM/MediaCom, said Barrett’s background shows he “gets digital ad sales quite well.” Barrett had served as CEO of supply-side platform Admeld, which Google acquired last year for $400 million. Prior to joining Admeld, he was Fox Interactive Media’s evp and chief revenue officer and worked with then-Fox Interactive Media president Levinsohn, who oversaw Myspace—one of the properties’ under Barrett’s revenue purview. Before that, he was AOL’s evp of sales and partnerships.
“It seems to me the focus of getting Barrett on board is streamlining and automating the whole ad technology [stack], i.e. the Right Media [Exchange] part of the business,” said Kathuria. As for Google, where Barrett has been a director for less than six months, the loss isn’t that bad and could in fact be a really good thing since the hire could serve as a segue into ad tech partnerships between Google and Yahoo, he said.
Barrett’s “Admeld integration was a critical part of the Google ad stack, especially on the supply side, and here Michael’s gone over to one of the most premium suppliers on the Web, Yahoo,” Kathuria said.