Another day, another former Yahoo VP going to work for Microsoft. This time it’s Eric Boyd, a former VP of Engineering at Yahoo, who more recently held the same title at gaming startup Mochi Media. Boyd is leaving Mochi to run the Silicon Valley ad group for Microsoft, after being recruited heavily by former mentor Qi Lu, who now runs online services for Microsoft, we’ve learned. [Updated below]
This is a very important role for Microsoft as it is the group that will be absorbing the 400 Yahoo employees who are coming over when the Microsoft/Yahoo search advertising deal is finalized. The key for Boyd will be transitioning them into Microsoft’s team.
Boyd announced on his Facebook page that he was changing jobs last week, but didn’t give more details. He was decided between Google, Netflix, Microsoft, a few startups and yes, even going back to Yahoo, we’re told. But this past week he has apparently been in Hawaii with a group from Microsoft, so it’s probably safe to assume that the decision had been made by then.
Boyd’s move is also interesting because it highlights a continued string of exits of senior level people from Mochi Media. A power struggle currently going on between the investors certainly isn’t helping the cause. Aside from Boyd, no less than CEO George Garrick and VP of Sales, Carol Werner have left the company in the past few months, we’ve learned. And both of them were at Mochi for a very short period of time. Garrick was just brought on board in November of last year, while Werner came over from MySpace in May 2008. [Update below]
We’ve reached out to Boyd, Microsoft and Mochi Media, and will update when and if we hear back from any of them.
An interesting side note is that Boyd was a former member of MIT’s Blackjack team in college.
Updated: Boyd has just confirmed the news via email:
1. I will be joining the Search and Advertising group in Silicon Valley
2. The reporting relationship of the Yahoo team has not been worked out yet, we’ll figure that out as we get there.
And we’ve learned a little more after speaking to Boyd on the phone. He says that since the Microsoft/Yahoo deal is not finalized yet, he’s not exactly sure what his role will be, but it will be a high level position in the Advertising group based in Silicon Valley for Microsoft.
Boyd also notes that he has yet to finalize his deal with Microsoft, but it seems to be a formality at this point, as they are doing the usual background checks. He left his job at Mochi about a month ago, and is eager to start at Microsoft ASAP, he says. He would not speak to the others leaving Mochi.
Update 2: We’ve just heard back from a Mochi spokesperson confirming all three exits. What’s interesting is that Werner and Garrick’s exits came much earlier, but were never reported. Werner left her role in March, we’re told. Garrick stepped down from the CEO role in June, but remains on the board of directors.
“The management changes are part of a shift in company strategy toward becoming a full-service gaming platform vs. just an online games ad network,” the company spokesperson tells us. They went on to note that the new emphasis on micro-transactions is showing some early positive results.
Co-founder Jameson Hsu has returned to the CEO role.