Jeff Weiner's Departure From Yahoo Imminent, Speculation on Successor Begins

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Yahoo’s EVP Network Division Jeff Weiner, who’s been the subject of rabid speculation since the weekend, has submitted his resignation, our sources within the company say. Yahoo and Weiner are still negotiating his separation agreement, and will make an announcement “imminently” about his departure. But the big question is – who will replace him?

Weiner first joined Yahoo when former CEO Terry Semel took charge in 2000. He is considered by many employees to be, after Jerry Yang, the spiritual leader of the company and the guy who’s actually holding things together. His departure leaves a gaping hole in the senior management of the company.

Going forward, Weiner will likely become an entrepreneur-in-residence with both Accel Partners and Greylock Partners. Weiner is close to Accel via Andrew Braccia, who used to run Yahoo search and reported to Jeff. His relationship with Greylock stems from James Slavet, who previously ran Yahoo Autos and also reported directly to Weiner.

I had dinner with Weiner last month, where we discussed his passion for socially responsible investing (he’s on the board of and actively involved with Donor’s Choose and Malaria No More, Peter Chernin’s pet charity), social media and Yahoo’s ongoing “open strategy.”

Weiner’s direct reports, Brad Garlinghouse, Tapan Bhat, Scott Moore, and Vish Makhijani, run Yahoo’s U.S. property. Presumably Yahoo would move one of the four into his position – bringing in an outsider at this point, with Yahoo’s future uncertain, would be less likely, say our sources. It’s also possible, we hear, that Yahoo may undergo a new round of exec reorganization.

Here are the likely contenders for the job:

Brad Garlinghouse

Garlinghouse, the SVP Communications and Communities, is the author of the infamous Peanut Butter Manifesto. He runs Yahoo’s communities and communications services. His properties include Mail, Messenger, Groups, Flickr and Zimbra. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Brad served as CEO of Dialpad Communications. Earlier in his career, Brad led VC investments in communications and Internet businesses at @Ventures. He also spent time in leadership roles at @Home Network and SBC Communications.

Scott Moore

Scott Moore is the SVP of Content Operations for Yahoo. He works from Yahoo’s Santa Monica offices and controls all media properties and content verticals – things like news, finance, sports, movies, television, music, fantasy sports, games, OMG and video. Niche verticals like Kids and Shine also fall under Moore. He was previously a well respected long term executive with Microsoft at MSN, responsible for their news, finance and sports sites. He joined Yahoo in 2005.

Vish Makhijani

Vish Makhijani is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo Search. He controls Yahoo Search, Delicious and other properties. Previously he was Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo!s consumer International Search business. Before joining Yahoo!, Vish served as Vice President and General Manager of Inktomi, and joined Yahoo when Inkomi was acquired. Before joining Inktomi, Mr. Makhijani worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in both the company’s New York Metro and Silicon Valley practices where he helped Fortune 500 clients and leading technology, media and start up companies with financial reporting, mergers, acquisitions, and public offering issuances.

Tapan Bhat

Bhat, the Vice President of Front Doors and Network Services, controls the Yahoo home page, My Yahoo and other properties like Buzz. 500 million people a month enter Yahoo through properties he controls. He’s responsible for developing the front door strategy for Yahoo across all network “front doors”. Additionally, he has direct management and P&L responsibility for the front door of the network (www.yahoo.com) and My Yahoo.

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