Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) VP of search consumer products Larry Cornett, who was central to the company’s message that it remained dedicated to the search business even though it was outsourcing the back-end to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), is leaving the company.
Cornett had been a very vocal defender of Yahoo’s search strategy, frequently showing off new features to reporters and responding to analyst concerns. At a media conference last year, he was asked, “What happens if you guys get fired, laid off, go to *Google* or whatever else?” — a question which he politely brushed off, saying “search is a critical business for Yahoo.”
In a blog post (via SearchEngineLand), Cornett doesn’t explain what it driving his departure, only saying that “the time has come to move on to other opportunities.” He says he’s starting a new, stealth company, as well as a consulting practice.
Yahoo cut an undisclosed number of jobs in its search group earlier this month, but a spokeswoman tells us that Cornett’s departure is not related, adding that he left “a few months ago.”