Jai Singh jumps ship, leaves Yahoo in wake of COO’s sacking

Following the not-so-shocking- firing of Yahoo!’s Chief Operating Officer Henrique De Castro, sources close to the company claim that Editor in Chief Jai Singh has also departed the company.

News of Singh’s departure surfaced after CEO Marissa Mayer’s internal memo to employees was posted online.The memo stated that Kathy Savitt would henceforth be leading the company’s  media and editorial functions, a role that previously belonged to Singh.

A Yahoo spokesperson told Business Insider that effective today, Singh was no longer part of the company, but declined to provide further information.

“Appointing a marketing person to be in charge of editorial is probably enough of a reason for many journalists to run screaming from the building, but it’s not clear what prompted Singh’s exit.  In addition, Savitt has a very mixed reputation — and this is me being polite — inside Yahoo,” Kara Swisher of re/code.net wrote.

An executive leaving a company may be seen as a sign of a sinking ship, but a company firing an executive is often viewed as more of a ‘shake-up’ in the hopes that it’ll function better. Butwhat does De Castro’s and Singh’s departure say about Mayer’s leadership? It’s not immediately clear, but what it does show is that she’s not afraid to let go of employees if she thinks its for the good of the company. Also, she’s not done with her mission of restructuring Yahoo by a long shot.

It doesn’t seem like Mayer will be replacing Singh and De Castro either, as most of the tasks performed by them have already been divided up among existing employees.

Investors don’t seem to be that bothered with these departures either, mainly because they aren’t interested in the company as a whole, but rather the company’s stake in Alibaba, the Chinese e-comm giant, as well as Yahoo Japan. Yahoo’s stocks closed at $40.34 on Thursday.

One other issue the company needs to address is its small board Board of Directors. With only seven members, and only one member leading a public company, Peter Liguori, CEO of Tribune Co., the key to Yahoo’s turnaround might lie in finding two new directors that are better experienced in running a public company.

“[T]he board clearly could benefit from another seasoned public-company leader,’’ said Charles Elson, head of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware business school.

Elson added that because of the current small number, there aren’t enough people to effectively evaluate Yahoo’s management.

According to one source familiar with the matter, Yahoo is looking for two seasoned CEOs, and at least one of them would ideally possess some kind of international operating experience. We don’t know when Yahoo’s search for new board members is expected to be concluded, but with its history of turmoil and turnovers, it’s highly unlikely that experience CEOs will be clamoring for a position with the company.