Former Right Media CEO and current Yahoo SVP Mike Walrath is moving offices from New York to Sunnyvale in October. He told Valleywag it's "a quality of life decision." If the move means a big promotion — a tipster tells us that's the rumor around Yahoo's New York office — Walrath wouldn't say. He's already in charge of Yahoo's advertising marketplaces group, requiring plenty of facetime at headquarters. But we think a promotion is likely, and deserved. So does a fellow Yahoo executive who told us Walrath is a particular favorite of Yahoo president Sue Decker and her closest lieutenant, Hilary Schneider, to whom Walrath currently reports.
Yahoo acquired the 80 percent of online-advertising exchange Right Media it didn't already own for $680 million in 2007 — a jawdroppingly high sum which made former Right Media executive Brian O'Kelley giggle, since Yahoo had bought the first 20 percent at a $200 million valuation only months before.
If Yahoo executives think they overpaid, no one's holding it against Walrath. The acquisition is the centerpiece of Yahoo's strategy to turn the company into a central place for buying online advertising. Transforming Yahoo's ad-selling operations from a conventional salesforce which sold ads on Yahoo's websites to a marketplace where banners are traded like bushels of corn has been a particular obsession of Decker's.
Adman Scott Symonds, whose employer, whose AKQA agency brings clients to Yahoo's advertising, told us he hopes the rumor of Walrath's promotion is true: "Yahoo has made some integration moves, but I think Yahoo can be even more aggressive leveraging these network properties and exchanges they purchased." One Yahoo speculates that Walrath's move to headquarters could be bad news for Mark Morrissey, another SVP in charge of advertising product management. Judging by how Walrath coolly handles a dancing, singing, rapping man in a chicken suit in the video embedded below, he's well prepared for life at 701 1st Ave, Sunnyvale, Calif.: