Paul Levine has resigned his position as GM of Yahoo! Local to take the VP of marketing slot at AdBright, a Sequoia Capital backed ad marketplace. Jennifer Dulski will be taking over local responsibilities as group vice president and general manager, Marketplace. The position will also include responsibility for Shopping, Travel, Autos and Real Estate.
Given the meteoric rise in valuations of ad marketplaces and AdBright’s under the radar success, Paul’s move is not that surprising. Clearly, much will be read into Paul’s departure given Yahoo!’s declining share price and other personnel defections. Regardless, Paul has been in his local position for four years, generally a full stock option vesting schedule. Given the economic potential of AdBright and the recent birth of his second child, the move could have been anticipated by many in the local space.
Yahoo! reports that local revenues grew 60 percent year over year in the past four years, driven by increasing usage and yield per user. A few key distribution contracts, namely with AT&T’s Yellowpages.com, added substantially to the total. Currently, nearly all major U.S. Yellow Page publishers sell into one or more of Yahoo!’s products.
Over the past few years, Yahoo! has been aggressively buying, launching and merging community platforms. Paul has been a big proponent of increasing user engagement for Yahoo! Local by capitalizing on the company’s diverse set of user-driven community tools and properties (e.g., Flickr, ratings and reviews, photo upload, user corrections, etc.).
In his position at Yahoo!, Paul has been a leading advocate of the importance of local within the Internet advertising eco-system. No doubt, we’ll be hearing more from Paul as soon as he gets himself settled in his new position.