Yahoo COO Henrique de Castro Steps Down, Reasons Unclear

Henrique de Castro, the chief operating officer of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) is stepping down from his position effective today, January 16, based on the filing of the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), de Castro will receive the severance benefits provided for in his employment letter and severance agreement, and equity award agreements.

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From Google to Yahoo

In his role as COO, de Castro was responsible for the strategic and operational management of business development, media, sales and operations of the company worldwide. He directly reported to Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO). He joined the company in October 2012, a few months after Mayer became CEO and was forming her management team.

Just like Mayer, de Castro was a former employee of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) where he served as vice president of worldwide partner business solutions group. At the time of his hiring, Mayer admired de Castro’s experience in building a global organization and operating an online advertising business.

Some technology observers believe that the relationship between Mayer and de Castro dwindled given the brief statement of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) in its regulatory regarding his departure. The company did not provide any explanation or reason for his exit.

Difficult decision

Re/code obtained an internal memo from Mayer to the employees of the company regarding de Castro’s departure, which reads, “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.”

Mayer also reorganized the operations of the company and directed several people to directly report to her including Dawn Airey, John Devine, Ned Brody, and Rose Tsou. She named Kathy Savitt to lead the media and editorial functions of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).  Mayer also realigned some of the functions of the COO organization to the Homepages & Verticals group led by Mike Kern.

“We’ll reach out to specific individuals on reporting changes. As always, there may be further changes to increase alignment and sharpen our media and product focus; those changes will be messaged within the affected groups,” according to Mayer in the internal memo.