According to sources close to the situation, Yahoo’s Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh has quit the company, a major departure which comes in the wake of changes made to its media unit after the firing of COO Henrique De Castro yesterday.
Under the new plan announced by CEO Marissa Mayer in an internal memo, the media unit will now come under the purview of CMO Kathy Savitt.
Appointing a marketing person to be in charge of editorial is probably enough of a reason for many journalists to run screaming from the building, but it’s not clear what prompted Singh’s exit. In addition, Savitt has a very mixed reputation — and this is me being polite — inside Yahoo.
In addition, sources said that media product head SVP of Homepage and Verticals Mike Kerns — who is very well liked internally, although not a media exec per se — will now be the boss of both Ken Fuchs, head of entertainment, games and sports and Rob Barrett, who helms news and finance.
In other words, Mayer is splitting the content baby, although she has inserted herself in the media dealmaking significantly. That includes courting the very famous Katie Couric, she of television news anchor fame, to deliver the important video interviews for Yahoo.
The well-regarded Singh arrived at Yahoo in mid-2011, from AOL’s Huffington Post. As I noted then: “The move is a big one in the online editorial arena. Before moving to the HuffPo as managing editor in 2009, which is now the key content unit of AOL, Singh ran CNET Networks.”
Yahoo has been bulking up its news staff of late, including making some high-profile hires. That includes the innovative Megan Liberman, nabbing her last fall from her job as deputy news editor at the New York Times, as well as tech reviewer David Pogue and political writer Matt Bai (also both of the Times).
I emailed and texted Yahoo PR peeps, but no response. So, can someone please forward the internal memo, so I can dispense with the time I spend trying to get them to call back.
[Update: Yahoo confirmed the departure to others in the media, but I am not taking it personally, since I was right.]