Millard Named Yahoo Chief Ad Sales Exec

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Yahoo Inc. named Wenda Harris Millard as its new chief advertising sales officer, a post that could be crucial to the Web company’s efforts to court traditional advertisers in the face of the economic slump.
Ms. Millard, 47 years old, will be responsible for driving the North American sales of the company’s advertising and marketing services initiatives and leading the North American sales organization. She has held executive positions at Internet ventures such as DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK) and Ziff Davis Media, and at traditional media operations such as Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Working Women Ventures Inc. and New York magazine.

Yahoo (YHOO), hurt as ailing dot-com advertisers went into a tailspin, had been searching for someone permanently to oversee ad sales since May, when Senior Vice President Anil Singh resigned to pursue personal interests. Invigorating sales to traditional advertisers is a top priority of Terry Semel, who became Yahoo’s chief executive officer the same month.

Compared with print magazines, online media companies such as Yahoo argue that they can better target ads to particular audiences, since they gather data about what pages users view and what they buy. But Ms. Millard joins Yahoo at a difficult time.

Several advertisers and ad agencies are re-evaluating their already slim budgets in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and many are putting their promotion plans on hold. Spending on advertising is expected to decline by as much as 9% this year and perhaps an additional 2% next year, according to some projections.

Separately, Yahoo also named Tim Sanders to the newly created position of chief solutions officer. Mr. Sanders previously created and led Yahoo’s Valuelab, an internal consultative practice involved in marketing relationships in 2000 and 2001.

Yahoo plans to report its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

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