Well-regarded Yahoo search product leader Anand Chandrasekaran, who just led the effort to integrate Yelp into Yahoo search, is leaving the company, according to a memo he sent today to staff at the Silicon Valley Internet company.
It is not clear where he is going.
As senior director of search products, Chandrasekaran, who came to Yahoo in 2011, is the kind of under-the-radar exec who is critical to the turnaround that CEO Marissa Mayer has been attempting to pull off at Yahoo.
Despite its stock soaring due to its large stake in China’s Alibaba Group and numerous efforts to improve its products, the core business is still lagging.
Turbocharging Yahoo’s search business has been a key effort by Mayer to improve revenue, including differentiating it via deals like Yelp. Mayer has also been pushing projects to bring back Yahoo’s search technology and has been trying to get out of a long-term partnership deal with Microsoft’s Bing to do so.
Chandrasekaran has been the product leader in the global search business, reporting to Laurie Mann, the SVP of search. His responsibilities included local and map products, which is why he was deeply involved in the effort to richly integrate recommendations listings from Yelp as part of a recent deal.
The content from the San Francisco-based reviews site is now integrated with local search and maps. It’s handsomely designed, although Google has had a very similar offering of its own — photos, maps, other info all in one — for a long time now. And Bing has been partnering with Yelp for 18 months.
Still, a valiant effort by Chandrasekaran, who is one of my favorite tweeters, too.
I would call Yahoo PR, but why waste the electrons? Here’s the memo:
From: Anand Chandrasekaran
Date: March 24, 2014 at 10:00:25 AM PDT
To: Anand Chandrasekaran
Subject: au revoir!
As some of of you know, my journey at Yahoo is coming to an end. My last day is March, 26th (this Wednesday).
I want to thank everyone for making this time incredible for me. In particular, I wish to thank Laurie and the Local Search and Maps teams — my directs, as well as the engg., editorial, design, partnerships and extended teams across SNV, Taiwan and Bangalore.
Yahoo is a very different company today compared to when I joined in 2011. The big ingredient that is different is love — for our users, products and partners. Thanks to Marissa for bringing this back to Yahoo, and for amplifying a culture that always did right by its people. I have been a big beneficiary of this, right from my first week to all the times that awesome engineers and designers have taken our crazy ideas and converted it to great code that users are excited about.
This shift has been evident in our recent launches — the ‘Feynman’ local redesign, Maps redesign and the Yelp ingestion and launch. Really proud to have been a part of this. Going back further, I will also take with me fond memories working on mobile search, Y! Answers and Y! TimeTraveler.
I hope we can catch up before I leave, and look forward to being in touch (my contact info is below). Wishing you years of working on the things and with the people that you love.