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Yahoo loses three top execs

Struggling Internet portal Yahoo is going to have to hope it can pull off a turnaround without some of its most experienced help: the company is losing three top executives in charge of some of the companies central and highly-visible operations. The exodus is casting doubt on Yahoo CEO’s Carol Bartz’ ability to turn the once-dominant Internet portal around into a dominant Internet company—particularly now that Yahoo’s ten-year-deal to hand off search processing to Microsoft’s Bing service is underway.

The executives leaving Yahoo are David Ko (senior vice president for “mobile and audience”), Hillary Schneider (executive VP in charge of Yahoo’s U.S. advertising), and Jimmy Pitaro (vice president who ran Yahoo’s news and financial information services). Yahoo hasn’t announced replacements for Pitaro or Schneider, although it will be keeping Schneider on board through the end of the year. David Ko will be replaced by Raymond Stern, who came to the company last year as a senior VP for North American partnerships.

The continuing departure of experienced executive talent from Yahoo could make CEO Carol Bartz’ efforts turn the company around even more complicated: although the departure of seasoned Yahoo talent certainly began under previous leadership, Bartz seems to have been able to do little to stem the tide. And while industry watchers generally praise Bartz’s cost-cutting moves and efforts to focus Yahoo back on its core businesses, the company’s stock price has yet to recover from its protracted battle to fend off a takeover from Microsoft. Yahoo retained its independence, but wound up ceding the back end of its Internet search operations to Microsoft Bing, even though Yahoo continues to develop its own search front-end.