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Yahoo Says Chief Product Officer Blake Irving Leaving

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), which announced about 2,000 job cuts earlier this week, said Blake Irving, its chief product officer, is leaving the company amid a turnaround effort.

Irving, who earlier worked at Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), has been at Yahoo since 2010. The owner of the largest U.S. Web portal made the announcement in an e-mailed statement.

Irving’s exit comes under the new leadership of Scott Thompson, who became chief executive officer of Yahoo in January. Irving joined Yahoo when the company was led by Carol Bartz, who was fired last September.

Thompson is looking for ways to increase efficiency and drive sales after the company fell behind rivals including Google Inc. (GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (FB) Thompson, whose cuts affected about 14 percent of employees, called an all-hands meeting for next week to discuss the company’s plans for the future, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg News.

Under Irving, a part-time musician who kept a set of drums near his office for employee jam sessions, Yahoo tried to develop more software for mobile devices and social networks. One of the products he promoted was Livestand, an application that showcased editorial content on tablets.

The average amount of time spent by U.S. visitors on Yahoo sites rose in December to 227 minutes from 201 a year earlier. That still trailed Google sites at 271 minutes and Facebook at 423 minutes, according to ComScore Inc. (SCOR)

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, fell 1.3 percent yesterday to $15.07 at 4 p.m. New York time. The shares have declined 6.6 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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