Yahoo! Inc. Senior Vice President Jacqueline Reses has stepped back from corporate development to focus on the company’s multibillion-dollar spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Reses, a trusted adviser to Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, is devoting her time to ensuring the spinoff’s operational details are handled properly, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Senior Vice President Ian Weingarten, who oversees partnerships, has taken on corporate development duties including acquisitions, the person said.
Yahoo is combining its stake of about 15 percent in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba with its small-business operation and spinning off the resulting entity. Reses’s shift in focus highlights the importance of the deal, announced under pressure from Starboard Value LP and other investors to return cash to holders. Mayer has depended on the stake, worth about $31 billion, to buoy Yahoo’s stock price as she struggles to turn around the Web portal’s underlying business.
Rebecca Neufeld, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, declined to comment.
Earlier this month, the company officially filed to spin off the Alibaba shares and said it expects the deal to be completed in the fourth quarter, even amid concerns about how it may be addressed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Yahoo announced the spinoff in January as a tax-free way to distribute the stake to shareholders.
Reses, who was on Alibaba’s board before the Chinese company’s initial public offering last year, joined Yahoo in 2012 after previously working at Apax Partners and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.