Yahoo European head Coppel steps down

Wed 3 December 2008 10:35, Bas van den Beld

Yahoo European head Coppel steps down

Is Yahoo! falling apart? After the stepping down of Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang there were al lot of rumors about a possible Microsoft takeover. Although Steve Ballmer said not to be interested in Yahoo anymore there is still a chance Microsoft might take over Yahoo after all.

European head Toby Coppel won’t be part of any possible deal. Yahoo announced his departure last week. Coppel, working for Yahoo since 2001, will leave at the end of this year and will be succeeded by Rich Riley, SVP of Europe’s Advertiser & Publisher Group.

Coppel was as managing director Europe responsible for the major Western European countries like United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia.

Coppel’s departure is not related to the stepping down of Yang. He stated: “I have been transitioning our European business, restructuring it and making it stronger, as Yahoo is moving to product development on a global platform.  While there is more work, there is now a strong team in place, focused on going forward and it needs to spread its wings.”

Yahoo President Sue Decker wrote an internal memo about Coppel’s departure in which she sums up accomplishments and milestones reached during Coppel’s time as managing director. She however also states: “Now that much of this foundation has been built, Toby and I agree it’s a logical time to transition to a more focused management team in Europe.” Usually a statement which says “we agree its time to separate” means the initiative comes from the company, not the employee.

Allthingsdigital got his hands on the internal memo sent by Decker. Read it yourself:

From: Sue Decker
Sent: Thu Nov 27 09:02:28 2008
Subject: Yahoo! Europe & Canada update


I want to update you on our Get Fit initiatives in Europe and Canada and to announce a leadership change for Yahoo! Europe and Canada.

Over the past 18 months, under Toby’s leadership, the Agenda2010 strategy has resulted in greater discipline, focus and stronger operating performance in Europe and Canada. There have been a number of important accomplishments and milestones in this time specifically:

•    Market share gains in our display business in all markets over the past 12 months
•    Growth in the Canadian display business of over 50% in 2008
•    Shift towards a global development approach for Front Page, Search and Mail
•    Elimination or divestiture of underperforming or non-core businesses such as Kelkoo which was sold last week
•    Increased efficiency and higher margins, including reductions in headcount, travel & entertainment and marketing costs
•    Establishment of new Switzerland HQ for greater business efficiency
•    Higher performing sales organization including a Superstar Inside Sales Team
•    Reduction in the number of layers and increase in spans of control

Now that much of this foundation has been built, Toby and I agree it’s a logical time to transition to a more focused management team in Europe. Today I am announcing that Toby will be stepping down as MD Yahoo! Europe & Canada.

I am very pleased to tell you that effective immediately, Rich Riley will assume the position of SVP, Yahoo! Europe & Canada. Toby will work closely with Rich to ensure a smooth transition and will remain with Yahoo! until the end of Q1 2009.

Rich has been with Yahoo! for almost ten years, during which he has held a wide range of roles and ever increasing responsibilities. He joined Yahoo! when we acquired the startup he co-founded which ultimately invented the Yahoo! Toolbar. From there he played important roles in corporate and business development, building and leading our U.S. small and medium business division and most recently leading our Advertiser & Publisher Group in Europe. He has worked closely with Toby and the European and U.S. leadership teams to shape the strategy and has delivered powerful results to our European business. I’m confident that Rich will be a strong and successful leader for Yahoo! Europe and Canada.

Under Rich’s leadership, Europe will continue on the path it has been on for the last year. This transition is a continuation of the Agenda2010 work that is underway.
Please join me in welcoming Rich to this new role and thanking Toby for his leadership, passion and tireless contributions to Yahoo! over the past 7 years.


Meanwhile Yahoo investor Carl Icahn purchased another 7 million shares of Yahoo, strengthening his position when it comes to making the decisions at Yahoo. However it is not clear if this investment made by Icahn will give him the revenues he’s hoping for. It could very well mean he will be losing a lot of money.

In October investor Eric Jackson thought otherwise and believed ‘that this company is doomed to failure with the current board and leadership.’. His predictions now seem to be accurate.

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