Mike Kerns, the Yahoo senior vice president in charge of Yahoo’s homepage and other destinations, just quit the company, a source close to Kerns just told us.
Earlier today, Kerns tweeted about leaving Yahoo. He wrote, “fascinating five years…learned a lot and met/worked with great people. Made a positive impact and can’t wait to get to what’s next.”
Kerns was a favourite of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s for a long time after she joined the company in the summer 2012.
This was a surprise to many because Kerns had been close to Mayer’s predecessor, interim CEO Ross Levinsohn. Mayer pushed out most of the executives who were close to Levinsohn within months of her arrival. Kerns, however, she promoted to SVP in August 2013, a year after she joined.
Kerns lead redesigns of the Yahoo.com homepage in 2012 and 2013.
Several sources tell us that, in 2013, Kerns threatened to quit the company. His vesting period had expired. That’s when Mayer promoted him and gave him many more responsibilities, including over products for video, news and other media properties.
A source says Kerns got along with Mayer because had a confident “attitude” that “worked for him.” The reason: He’d joined Yahoo through its acquisition of his company, Citizen Sports, and “he’d made his money.”
Another source says Kerns is a notorious “f-bomb” dropper.
Sometime in the past few months, Mayer soured on Kerns. News broke earlier this week that she re-organised Yahoo’s executive ranks, and gave many of Kerns’s responsibilities to Simon Khalaf, who was the CEO of Flurry, a mobile analytics startup that Yahoo bought last year.
According to one Yahoo Source, in the second quarter of 2014, Kerns was tasked with building a subscription video business at Yahoo. Perhaps he lost favour with Mayer because such a business has not materialised. This source also says that Kerns and Mayer disagreed over where Tumblr users should go when they click on Tumblr ads.
Kerns did not always love Mayer’s way of running Yahoo, sources tell us. We’re told he bristled when she created something called the CEO Challenge — a program that gave Yahoo employees money for thinking up new products — because it encouraged people to do work outside of what they should be doing.
Kerns did not pick up his phone when we tried to call him. We’ve asked Yahoo for comment and will update this post if it does.