HR Administration

Yahoo Hires Outsider as New HR Leader

By Michelle Rafter

Oct. 1, 2012

Before September, Jacqueline Reses had never formally worked in human resources, let alone managed the people side of a Fortune 500 company.

Today, Reses, 42, holds what is arguably the most high-profile HR job in the country. Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer recently named the former private equity partner executive vice president of people and development.

Reses’ mission: to reboot Yahoo’s corporate culture and, by association, its financial footing by revamping its workforce. She takes over for longtime HR head David Windley who Mayer replaced along with several other top HR executives as part of a wholesale regime change meant to right the struggling tech giant. Yahoo saw profits fall close to 15 percent in fiscal 2011 on a 25 percent dip in revenue.

One of Reses’ tasks will be helping orchestrate the “acqui-hires” that are part of Mayer’s turnaround strategy for the business. Mayer used the term in a Sept. 25 all-employee meeting to describe her intent to buy Silicon Valley startups as a way to acquire top engineering and developer talent.

Even before Reses was onboard, Mayer was making moves to win back the hearts and minds of Yahoo employees by reinstating perks such as free food at its Sunnyvale, California, headquarters. Mayer also has publicly backed giving iPhones and Android phones to all Yahoo employees, the better to acquaint them with mobile platforms that will play an important role in the company’s future business strategies.

To succeed, observers say Reses will need to overhaul an outdated compensation structure that has led to an exodus of top talent for better-paying opportunities at Yahoo’s Silicon Valley competitors.

There’s also speculation that Yahoo’s workforce revamp could include more job cuts. In April, the company said it would lay off 2,000 of its approximately 14,100 employees as part of a restructuring. In the quarter ended June 30, Yahoo took a $91 million charge against earnings to pay for severances related to the downsizing, according to regulatory filings.

Though Reses has no formal HR training, she’s not a stranger to workforce issues. Before joining Yahoo, she spent 10 years at the New York-based private equity firm Apax Partners, where she was involved in the firm’s recruiting and training, according to TechCrunch. In 2007, Reses solidified her standing in the upper strata of the private-equity world by winning the $7.8 billion acquisition of Thomson Learning, then the second-largest educational publisher in the country, according to Crain’s New York Business.

Yahoo officials did not respond to requests for an interview.

Michelle V. Rafter is a Workforce contributing editor. Comment below or email

Michelle Rafter is a Workforce contributing editor.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software
workforce news

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

HR Administration

Is your employee attendance policy and procedure fit for purpose?

Summary: Lateness and absenteeism are early warning signs of a deteriorating attendance policy. — More ...

compliance, HR technology, human resources

workforce blog

HR Administration

Clawback provisions: A safety net against employee fraud losses

Summary Clawback provisions are usually included as clauses in employee contracts and are used to recou...

clawback provisions, human resources, policy