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Yahoo's Executive Shake-up: a Timeline

New CEO Marissa Mayer made key hires, mapped out talent plans before starting a brief maternity leave on Oct 1.

October 9, 2012
Related Topics: Top Stories - Frontpage, Corporate Culture, Recruitment, Talent Management

Marissa Mayer had to work fast to start tackling Yahoo Inc.'s people problems.

The company's new chief executive was under the gun from the day she was hired to turn around the former Silicon Valley star, beginning with reducing the workforce and stopping a brain drain that had seen top-tier employees jump to competitors.

But there was another reason. Mayer had a baby on Sept. 30, less than three months after taking over the most visible turnaround project in the country. Her husband Zachary Bogue, a partner in a San Francisco venture fund, tweeted hours after the birth that "Mom and baby are doing great—we couldn't be more excited!"

Yahoo's board retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart in June to look for a permanent replacement for interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who took over when previous CEO Scott Thompson left in a résumé-padding controversy.

Here's a timeline of the human resources changes Mayer oversaw before departing for what's reported to be a one- or two-week maternity leave:

Aug. 10: Dismisses two top human resources executives, including longtime senior vice president David Windley, and the company's former head of talent acquisition. Yahoo's former chief of international HR, Marc Ketzel, leaves for another job.

Aug. 13: Taps Ron Bell as general counsel to run compliance programs and legal affairs worldwide.

Aug. 27: Hires Kathy Savitt, founder and chief executive of the Lockerz Inc. social retailing site as chief marketing officer. Savitt previously worked in senior marketing or leadership roles at American Eagle Outfitters and Inc.

Sept. 5: Hires private equity star Jacqueline Reses as executive vice president of people and development.

Sept. 18: Approves sale of stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group, and says $1.3 billion of the proceeds will go toward acquisitions and new hires.

Sept. 25: Hires longtime Silicon Valley finance executive Ken Goldman as chief financial officer, approving a compensation package worth $18 million. On the same day, announces turnaround strategy including buying tech startups to acquire engineering staff, and according to news website Business Insider, "giving that talent resources, and then holding employees accountable."

Oct. 1: Marissa Mayer goes on maternity leave.

Michelle V. Rafter is a Workforce contributing editor. Comment below or email

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