Yahoo loses 3 execs, including head of Americas

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc YHOO.O confirmed the departure of three senior executives, including U.S. head Hilary Schneider, the latest in a string of high-level departures at the Web portal.

The departures raise concerns about Yahoo’s efforts to revive its revenue growth and its popularity among Web surfers, nearly two years after CEO Carol Bartz took the helm, said analysts.

In an internal email to Yahoo employees obtained by Reuters, Bartz urged employees to “stay calm.”

“We have a good plan in place. In fact, I’m more fired up than ever and can roll with the punches,” Bartz wrote.

Yahoo said on Thursday that it expects to replace Schneider, the Executive Vice President of the Americas Region, by the end of the year.

Jimmy Pitaro, Vice President of Media at Yahoo, and David Ko, SVP Audience, Mobile and Local, North America, are also leaving the company. Yahoo said that Ko will be replaced by Raymond Stern, the company’s head of business development and partnerships.

Shares of Yahoo, which are down 16.4 percent this year, were unchanged in extended trading on Thursday at $14.17. News of the departures was first reported on Wednesday by the technology blog AllThingsD.

Yahoo has made progress boosting its profit margins and struck a money-saving search partnership with Microsoft Corp MSFT.O under Bartz's leadership, but Yahoo's revenue growth remains stagnant, growing 2 percent year-over-year in the second quarter.

The Internet pioneer is facing increasing competition from social networking services like Facebook, which are attracting greater numbers of online visitors and advertisers.

On Thursday, Web analytics firm comScore reported that Facebook had displaced Yahoo in August to become the second most popular site for watching online video in the United States behind Google Inc's GOOG.O YouTube.

“The reason why ad revenues are down is because engagement is down,” said UBS analyst Brian Pitz.

Earlier this year, Schneider took closer control over Yahoo’s North American sales operations, following the departure of Joanne Bradford, Yahoo’s head of revenue for North America, who left to join privately held Demand Media.

Other recent departures include Tapan Bhat, the head of Yahoo’s front page; Neil Sample, VP of Social Platforms; and Larry Cornett, VP Consumer Products.

The internal email from Bartz on Thursday said that Schneider was moving on “to the next phase in her career.” The email did not say whether Schneider was joining another company.

Schneider will stay on to help with the transition, the company said.

Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Gary Hill