Levinsohn: Yahoo is doing fine

Yahoo's Americas executive vice president declined to comment about rumors of a Yahoo-AOL merger

Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo's executive vice president for the Americas, on Monday downplayed the notion that the recent firing of CEO Carol Bartz has the company in an upheaval.

He made his remarks even as news emerged that Yahoo's chief technology officer, Raymie Stata, has just been replaced.

"Honestly, it's fine," Levinsohn said when asked how things are at Yahoo in the wake of Bartz's departure, during an appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit, where he was interviewed on stage by conference co-chairman John Battelle.

"If you've done jobs like this over the years, you sort of get used to it," he said, referring to shakeups at the executive level.

Levinsohn declined to comment about rumors that Yahoo and AOL might merge, and remained mum when asked about the process to find a new CEO.

Levinsohn, former president of News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media, also sidestepped the question of whether he would be interested in the Yahoo CEO job, saying he's focused on doing the job he was hired for a year ago.

Around the time he spoke, a Yahoo spokesman confirmed that Stata has been replaced as CTO by Ash Munshi and will take on a newly created role at Yahoo as "entrepreneur in residence." The news was first reported by the All Things D website.

As Americas executive vice president, Levinsohn oversees Yahoo's North, Central and South American business, including advertising sales, partnerships and media. "I have an incredible job right now," he said.

As Yahoo executives routinely do, he talked at length about the massive reach the company has through its websites and advertising platforms, emphasizing in particular the company's focus on professionally produced video content.

Still, Yahoo remains in a financial funk, having problems recently even with its U.S. display business, a core and traditionally strong market for the company, and with its wide-ranging search engine and search advertising partnership with Microsoft.

It is also perceived as having lost its technology edge and having to react to hot products other companies produce, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The board fired Bartz in September. She took the CEO job in January 2009, but was unable to deliver the much-awaited Yahoo turnaround.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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