Yahoo’s Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro has left the company just 14 months at the side of boss Marrisa Mayer.
The announcement in a US Security and Exchange Commission filing offered no reason for his departure but said it was effective immediately.
However, an internal memo acquired by the tech news website Re/code sheds a little more light on what Ms Mayer calls “a difficult decision”.
She explained to employees: “The beginning of a new year always provides time for reflection. As we enter 2014, I couldn’t be more proud of what Yahoo accomplished in 2013 or more optimistic about what we’ll accomplish in 2014. During my own reflection, I made the difficult decision that our COO, Henrique de Castro, should leave the company. I appreciate Henrique’s contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
De Castro joined CEO Marissa Mayer as her first high profile appointment, just three months after her own in October 2012. Both previously worked at Google.
De Castro had been serving as VP of Google’s worldwide partner business solutions group, where he was responsible for advertising platforms and services for Google’s publisher and commerce partners.
At Yahoo, he was tasked with managing sales, operations, media and business development worldwide.
De Castro will leave with all the severance benefits detailed in his contract – thought to amount to around $40 million. That is in spite of the stark drop in revenues Yahoo has experienced in recent years – and the fact that Mayer explicitly pointed to the asset of De Castro’s internet advertising expertise when he was hired.
Mayer said the leadership structure of the company would be reorganised – suggesting that there would be no direct replacement for De Castro.
She added: “Overall, I am confident that the leadership team, our direction, and these changes will enable even more successful execution. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through these changes.”
Despite improving online traffic, Ms Mayer and her team have continued to struggle to revive Yahoo’s flagging sales, which dropped between 5 per cent and 7 per cent in each of the first three quarters of 2013.