Sales executive to leave Yahoo

Yahoo’s Wenda Harris Millard has resigned her post as head of domestic sales for the Internet giant and signed on with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as president of media.

Yahoo said Sunday it plans to merge its previously distinct search and display advertising departments into a single unit in an effort to streamline its sales operations.

Millard’s departure comes on the heels of a major shakeup at the Netco last week, when Terry Semel stepped down after six years as CEO and was replaced in that role by Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang (Daily Variety, June 19). Yahoo said David Karnstedt, former senior VP of Yahoo search sales, will head the combined North American sales team.

At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Millard will oversee the company’s Internet, publishing and broadcasting businesses, reporting to MSLO prexy-chief exec Susan Lyne. Millard has served on MSLO’s board of directors for the past three years but will resign her seat. She moves into her exec role at the company on July 16.

Millard’s mandate is to develop more cross-platform initiatives among MSLO’s magazines, TV shows and Internet divisions. Lyne said she’s been thinking about the need to add an uber-organizational level at MSLO for the past 10 months or so and has been wooing Millard to take the post since January.

Lauren Stanich, head of MSLO Publishing, will segue to an advisory role at the company. Sheraton Kalouria, MSLO’s head of broadcasting, will continue to report to Lyne.

“The marketplace is changing. Advertisers are looking for really big cross-platform ideas,” said Lyne. “We have a huge opportunity because we do have magazines and TV shows and Internet ventures, but they operate as independent entities. We needed a really strong strategic head to maximize the potential there. We also have an opportunity to create new content in a thoughtful way that unites all of our divisions.”

Millard said the strength of MSLO’s various brands gives the company an edge with advertisers and marketers looking to tap into distinct consumer niches.

“People are really passionate about these brands and the areas we cover. That allows us to help marketers leverage the connection we have with our consumers,” Millard said. “The way consumers react to our product lines gives us plenty of opportunities to expand across all media.”

Millard spent six years with Yahoo as chief sales officer. Before that, she was president of Ziff Davis Internet and a founder of Web advertising giant DoubleClick. She spent the early part of her career in publishing, rising to senior veep and publisher of Family Circle mag.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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