Yahoo stalwart Weiner leaves for two greener VC pastures

Adding another stone to the sinking ship of employee morale at Yahoo, long-time company stalwart Jeff Weiner has finally decided to leave, exiting to take on the role of "executive in residence" at two venture capital firms.

In his new dual role with Greylock Partners and Accel Partners, former Yahoo Executive VP Jeff Weiner will advise the companies' leadership teams about consumer technology investments, dividing his time between them.

Weiner began his productive tenure at Yahoo as part of the search leadership team, helping out with the launch of social search products such as Yahoo Answers as well as with the buyouts of Flickr, de.icio.us, AltaVista, FAST, and Inktomi. Then, from 2001 to 2002, he took the reins of corporate development, directing the company's strategy, mergers, and acquisitions.

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Having survived the previous round of reorganization last August, and the first re-org for Yahoo under the helm of returning CEO Jerry Yang and new president Susan Decker, Weiner's remaining on board was taken to be a sign of stability for the search provider as it struggled to regain its footing. In his most recent job as executive VP of Yahoo's Network Division, Weiner oversaw more than 3,000 employees, helped drive Yahoo's Open and Social initiatives, and expanded products such as Yahoo.com, Yahoo News, and Yahoo Groups.

Many people in the search and social networking fields -- both inside and outside Yahoo -- are bemoaning Yahoo's loss of Weiner. "I am a big Jeff Weiner fan. As Om Malik said, "Oow, Eew, Ouch." And as John Battelle wrote on SearchBlog, "Wow. What a tragedy."

Weiner is the latest in a string of key employees to depart Yahoo since Microsoft announced its acquisition bid for Yahoo in February. Last week, technical evangelist Jeremy Zawodny left; although he held a high-profile position, technically he was not an executive.

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