Yahoo loses top marketing exec Kathy Savitt

A top Yahoo marketing and media executive thought to be a close confidante of CEO Marissa Mayer said Friday she is leaving the company.

Kathy Savitt, who had dual roles as chief marketing officer and head of media, is leaving to join startup movie studio STX Entertainment.

Savitt was the first exec to be hired after Mayer became CEO in 2012. Among her roles was trying to turn Yahoo into more of an entertainment destination, which included a deal to air the sixth season of comedy series “Community” on the streaming video service Yahoo Screen.

Yahoo confirmed her departure in a statement Friday but didn’t outline the plans for her succession. Her responsibilities over media content — such as Yahoo News and the digital magazines Savitt helped launch — are likely to be taken by Martha Nelson, formerly of Time Inc., who was hired as Yahoo Media’s editor-in-chief earlier this summer.

Savitt’s new boss will be Hollywood film producer Robert Simonds, whose credits include early Adam Sandler hits such as “Happy Gilmore,” “Billy Madison” and “The Wedding Singer.” Simonds founded STX in Southern California last year. Savitt will run STX’s digital wing, according to a statement from the Burbank company that describes itself as “the first major studio to be launched at this scale in Hollywood in more than twenty years.”

Savitt is the most notable of several execs to depart the Sunnyvale company in recent weeks. Scott Burke, who was in charge of display advertising and worked at Yahoo since 2006, announced on Aug. 28 he was leaving to co-found a personal genomics company, Helix, to be based in San Francisco’s Mission Bay biotech hub. Dawn Airey, a TV veteran who led Yahoo’s European operations, also recently quit.

Update: Yahoo is also losing its top Internet security executive, Ramses Martinez, according to TechCrunch, which noticed that his LinkedIn profile says he is working for Apple. Martinez had just been promoted to the position after Facebook snagged Yahoo’s security chief and noted privacy defender Alex Stamos. We last spoke to Martinez in May, when the Cuban-born engineer had helped host and judge a hackathon for open Internet access in Cuba.

Above: A Yahoo gumball machine is at the main entrance to Yahoo’s corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


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