Yahoo sales chief may be out of the picture

On AllThingsD, Kara Swisher has the scoop on some minor personnel moves at Yahoo. But surprisingly, the reporter who's normally so plugged into the mess at Yahoo may have missed the big news. One tipster claims that Gregory Coleman, the longtime head of sales, is on the way out, to be replaced by Hilary Schneider, who currently runs Yahoo's e-commerce businesses, such as they are. The ad salesforce is supposed to get the word today, with the official announcement coming tomorrow.

The rumor makes sense. Coleman led Yahoo's big comeback in advertising in the early part of this decade. But equally, one could say, he's overseen the recent slowdown in banner-ad sales growth. He's been ridiculed recently for his comments about how digital marketers don't know how to reach teens — rather, some charge, Yahoo ad salespeople, under Coleman, don't know how to deliver teens to marketers.

Schneider, meanwhile, is a close ally of Yahoo president Sue Decker. Brought into Yahoo last September to oversee its listings businesses — a small area of operating responsibility given to Decker when she was still CFO — Schneider's authority has expanded alongside Decker's. She doesn't have a traditional ad-sales background, but perhaps Yahoo, by promoting her to run all of Yahoo's sales, CEO Jerry Yang and Decker are saying that a traditional approach isn't what's needed now.