At Yahoo, Bartz has a Very Clear #2
There's no question about who runs the show at Yahoo: That's CEO Carol Bartz. But after her, no one has more power than Hilary Schneider.
That became even clearer yesterday when Yahoo announced that it has ended its search for a sales chief to replace Joanne Bradford, who jumped ship to join Demand Media in March.
After an exhaustive external (and internal) search, Yahoo announced that the new sales chief is none other than ... Schneider. She's folding that job into her other responsibilities, which include running the Americas region, which accounts for more than 75% of Yahoo's revenue.
Let's think about that for a minute: It means Schneider is responsible for the overwhelming majority of Yahoo's operations and now 100% of sales. The clear advantage is that there's "one throat to choke" now when it comes to customer relationships and execution at Yahoo —it's clearly Schneider's job to get it done. The potential disadvantage is that there's a lot riding on the management skills of this one executive, so Bartz is trusting that Schneider is in this for the long haul.
It strikes me as a smart bet.
Bartz knows sales — since her days running sales for Sun Microsystems (and before then, really), she has understood the importance of forging strong customer relationships. So she had to know that she couldn't afford to have instability or infighting within the sales ranks — especially at this critical time when Yahoo is trying to claw its way back from a recession, build tighter relationships with large advertisers and execute the search partnership with Microsoft.
Schneider, who was in line to be CEO of newspaper giant Knight-Ridder (a former employer of mine) before the chain's untimely demise about five years ago, is a stable presence who's good handling both people and numbers. Now she's got plenty of both on her plate.