Yahoo is scaling back its research lab and two of its top execs are out.
As Business Insider previously reported, Yahoo’s in-house research lab Yahoo Labs is going through a tough time — and the company just announced reorg plans that put most researchers into product groups rather than the standalone unit.
In a blog post, Yahoo wrote that the researchers will integrate with product teams and two of its long-time leaders, Ron Brachman and Ricardo Baeza-Yates, will leave the company. There will also be a small independent research team that will work both autonomously and closely with the product teams. The combined efforts will be called Yahoo Research and will be led by current VP of research Yoelle Maarek.
The announcement comes just a couple weeks after Yahoo announced that it would lay off 15% of its workforce and shut down 5 overseas offices. With declining revenue and external pressure from activist investors, Yahoo has been under pressure to downsize and cut costs.
Yahoo Labs started out as one of the leading research labs in 2006, but faced huge downsizes under ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. In 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer started re-investing in the lab in order to nurture fresh ideas and help launch the next big product.
But according to former employees, Mayer started to cut back again in late 2014, and focused most of the lab’s work on product development. Yahoo’s overall lab staff has shrunk nearly 30% since mid-2014, and at least 5 of Yahoo Labs’ overseas outposts have been shut down.
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