Tumblr Ad Executive Stepping Down as Yahoo Combines Teams

Marissa Mayer

Chief executive officer of Yahoo! Inc., Marissa Mayer has come under growing pressure from some investors, including Starboard Value LP, to show better results from her investments, including Tumblr, her largest.

Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Lee Brown, global head of brand partnerships at Yahoo! Inc.’s Tumblr, is stepping down amid a move to fold the blogging service’s advertising team into the parent’s.

The company confirmed the move in an e-mailed statement without elaborating. Yahoo acquired Tumblr for about $1 billion in 2013.

“We are aligning the Yahoo and Tumblr sales teams,” the company said. “We’re proud of the strong momentum at Tumblr and we believe bringing the sales teams together will enable us to further deliver the ad solutions that maximize value for our advertisers and best meet their needs.”

Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer is using Tumblr as a key part of her social strategy to attract users and bolster revenue as she depends on new businesses to drive expansion. The unit is set to deliver more than $100 million this year in revenue, the company said last year.

Brown joined Tumblr in 2012 after almost two years at Groupon Inc., the online deals company, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that he held leadership positions in advertising at Yahoo.

Mayer, trying to drive a turnaround since her arrival in 2012, has come under growing pressure from some investors, including Starboard Value LP, to show better results from her investments, including Tumblr, her largest. Last month, the company forecast sales, minus revenue passed onto partners, for the first quarter that fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Mayer said the company has held the line at about 12,500 employees even as the company has added new companies through acquisitions. Tumblr had almost 200 workers when it was folded into Yahoo.

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