• Reses recently shifted role to focus on Alibaba spinoff
  • CEO Mayer hired Reses in 2012 to lead corporate development

One of the top lieutenants in Silicon Valley is leaving the side of one high-profile Internet executive in Marissa Mayer to join another, Jack Dorsey.

Jacqueline Reses is departing Yahoo! Inc., where she had been chief development officer, to join Dorsey’s Square Inc., helping boost the startup’s executive team while dealing a blow to the Web portal, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

Jacqueline Reses, outgoing chief development officer of Yahoo! Inc.
Jacqueline Reses, outgoing chief development officer of Yahoo! Inc.
Source: Facebook

Reses’ role changed earlier this year when she shifted her focus to Yahoo’s spinoff of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. that is worth about $27 billion, a person familiar with the matter said in July.

The arrival of Reses comes after Dorsey was this month named permanent chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., a role he also holds at Square ahead of its initial public offering. Adding her leadership could help lighten the load for Dorsey amid concerns about his dual responsibilities.

Management Struggles

Mayer, who has been at the helm of Yahoo for more than three years, has struggled to build a stable management team as the company lost ground to Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and others. Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, also hired under Mayer’s leadership, left to join movie-studio STX Entertainment. Kevin Gentzel, head of North America ad sales, and Mike Kerns, senior vice president, both left for other companies as well.

Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, declined to comment. Square didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Reses’s exit comes at a delicate time, as Yahoo is planning to spin off its stake of about 15 percent in Alibaba by the end of the year. Yahoo investors have assigned the majority of the company’s stock value to its Asian assets with little left over for the Web portal’s main business.

Yahoo said last month its board authorized the spinoff and the company is pushing ahead with the move, even though the U.S. Internal Revenue Service declined to grant an advance ruling blessing the deal, according to a filing. The agency is stepping up scrutiny of such transactions and indicated a decision isn’t likely to be retroactive.

Reses was on Alibaba’s board before the e-commerce operator’s IPO and played a key role in building a stronger relationship between the companies. She joined Yahoo after previously working at Apax Partners and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Payments Dongle

Yahoo Senior Vice President Ian Weingarten, who oversees partnerships, had taken on corporate-development duties, including acquisitions, when Reses started focusing on the Alibaba spinoff, a person with knowledge of the matter said in July.

Square, a payments company known for its dongle that converts mobile phones into credit-card readers, was started in 2009. Last year, millions of mostly small merchants used its devices to process $23.8 billion in credit-card payments, which is about 10 percent of the volume processed by market-leader PayPal.

Dorsey’s dual CEO roles mean he’ll have to juggle the roadshow for Square while the social-media company is undergoing a reorganization and refocusing of its main services -- the website that lets people send and share 140-character messages.