Jai Singh leaves Yahoo

Over the last week Yahoo has lost two top people, today editor-in-chief Jai Singh, who came in from the Huffington Post where he was the managing editor in 2011, has left, just one day after Henrique de Castro, the company’s chief operating officer, was fired.

Singh had previously been the founding editor of CNETNews.com, and senior VP and editor-in-chief of CNET.com.

Yahoo has not released any details on why Singh has left and what his severance package might be. It has been speculated that de Castro will probably be given over $40 million as a parting gift after being in the company for just fourteen months and failing to revive dwindling advertising sales.

Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, sent an internal memo when de Castro was fired saying that the media unit is now under the responsibility of the reputedly divisive Chief Marketing Office Kathy Savitt.

Mayer added that the decision to fire de Castro, who had been running the company’s ad business, was hers.

In a memo to Yahoo employees Mayer wrote “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.”

Placing marketing in charge of editorial would upset most journalists

According to re/code, Singh, a trained journalist, was not happy that a marketing person be in charge of editorial. In the world of journalism, marketing and editorial are the equivalent of church and state.

Appointing a CMO (chief marketing office) to be head of editorial content is extremely unusual.

Placing a marketing person, who is already in charge of advertising, nearly always means losing objective journalism, because their instinct will slant towards pleasing advertisers.

Yahoo has been talking a lot about ramping up its content. Losing one’s editorial leader at such a time is hardly a promising sign, especially if the person simply left of his own accord.

Why did Singh decide to leave?

Several media sources have offered these possible reasons for Sing’s departure:

  • Yahoo has spent a great deal of money bringing in mass-market talent, including media personality Katie Couric and technical journalist David Pogue. Maybe the new mix of talent did not suit Singh.
  • Singh did not like Mayer’s new direction. Singh was in Yahoo before Mayer was taken on as CEO.
  • Perhaps Singh’s position was becoming redundant.
  • Singh is abandoning a sinking ship.

While being praised for turning the company around, there is one thing Mayer has not been able to do yet, something she desperately needs to improve more than anything else, something tangible – to increase advertising revenue

Yahoo continues to lose advertising market share to its two main rivals, Facebook and Google.