Vish Makhijani Becoming CEO of Yandex Labs, Not Yandex; Company Buys Online Traffic Info Firm

imageEarlier today we had reports that Vish Makhijani, the SVP and GM of Search at Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), was leaving to join as the CEO of Yandex, the big Russian search engine. Turns out he is joining as the CEO of Yandex Labs, a new Silicon Valley research facility from the Russian company, our sources says. This new facility in Silicon Valley will be a small one to begin with, with the idea to hire more people as the company grows. Interestingly, the company is expected to do a big U.S. IPO soon, so this might be the start of building out a business presence here in U.S.

The current CEO of Yandex, the main company, is Arkady Volozh, and will continue to be so.

Meanwhile, Yandex is continuing to do small acquisitions: it has bought out local online traffic data provider Smilink…the two companies have been working together for two years. The company was founded in 2001, aimed at PDA users, who could buy a special add-on device and get access to news, to information about stock exchange and traffic jams. The company moved on to focus on traffic data, through special navigation devices, through online and mobile phones.