Yahoo! Inc. is losing one of its top execs according to a report published by Bloomberg in the early hours of Monday morning. The firm’s chief development officer Jacqueline Reses is leaving the firm in order to join Square. That’s the soon-to-be public payments processor run by Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey.
Reses was one of the execs charged with the spin off of Yahoo’s share of Alibaba Group Holding Inc. Shares of the Chinese e-commerce firm, garnered from an early investment, make up the vast majority of the market cap of Yahoo. Those shares were to be spun off into an independent firm, but recent tax problems has made that option appeal less.
Yahoo loses Alibaba spin off exec
Bloomberg reported back in July that Reses had been put in charge of that operation. That piece described the executive as a trusted advisor to Marissa Mayer, CEO at Yahoo . She joined Yahoo in September of 2012, just two months after Marissa Mayer took charge of the online platform.
Since then Yahoo has managed to survive, though most shareholder returns in the last three years can be traced right back to the boom in value of the firm’s Alibaba shares. The slow process toward selling off that stock has left those holding stock in Yahoo losing large amounts of the value of their holdings. A rumored crash in China, combined with a very real stock market crash in the country, lowered the price of Alibaba shares.
At the end of September Yahoo! said that it was going to go ahead with the spin off of the shares despite a lack of clarity on the tax bill it would have to pay as a result. It’s not yet clear when the firm plans to actually spin off the stock, and shares have traded wildly as a result of lack of clear signals about the return from the operation.
Reses served on the baord of directors of Alibaba, representing Yahoo, from 2012 up until the firm went public in 2014. It’s not certain if her departure from Yahoo will have any effect on the progress of the spinoff.
Yahoo Inc. faces brain drain
Tech firms that aren’t able to grow and perform are always at risk of losing talent. As Mayer’s attempts to grow sales at Yahoo! continue to flail, it seems that she’s losing some of those closest to her. Reses is just the most recent example of a top exec leaving the firm, and the movement may be taking its toll on the firm.
In recent months Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, Kevin Gentzel, the man in charge of North America ad sales, and Mike Kerns, SVP have all ran away from Yahoo.
Square is a big new firm in the payments space, it’s just about to go public, and right now is the time for an ambitious exec to jump on board. Yahoo, with its less than exciting product outlook, and a less than relaxed work atmosphere, is less appealing, at least judging by the flock of exits in recent times.