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New Yahoo COO to Be Based in New York

Location would rekindle ties with Madison Avenue
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Yahoo’s new chief operating officer Henrique de Castro isn’t slated to start until the middle of next month, according to All Things D, but when he does, he won’t be working alongside CEO Marissa Mayer at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters. De Castro will be based at Yahoo’s New York offices, according to a source briefed by Yahoo.

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent shortly before the company reported its third-quarter earnings on Monday afternoon.

That a company’s CEO and COO would work on opposite sides of the country may seem odd, but de Castro will not be a typical COO. As All Things D has pointed out, the former Google sales exec will oversee sales at Yahoo in addition to running day-to-day operations. Therefore, placing de Castro amid the buyers along Madison Avenue would be a strategic move to maintain a cohesive sales organization and strategy as well as rekindle ties with an advertising community that’s felt neglected of late. It would also get de Castro in front of media buyers not as familiar with him as they were with outgoing sales chief Michael Barrett.

While marketers eagerly anticipated Mayer’s plans for Yahoo in July, the company’s sales teams have been fairly quiet, particularly within the past month as advertisers plan their budgets for next year, according to multiple media buyers.

“It feels like the Yahoo rep community has hunkered down a little bit. They’re not as forthcoming about outlining their vision for 2013 as they were at this time last year for 2012,” said Chris O’Brien, managing director of digital at Mindshare in Chicago—and one of the agency’s lead liaisons for Yahoo. Of course, O’Brien noted, that likely has much to do with the fact that Mayer herself has been quiet about communicating her strategy to employees.

But quiet does not equate to silence. O’Brien and others said Yahoo has discussed partnership opportunities around 2013 tent-pole events, such as the Super Bowl and Academy Awards. “They always come up with unique partnership opportunities and haven’t slowed down on that front at all,” O’Brien said.