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Yahoo!'s European managing director Toby Coppel is joining the exodus from the firm. Coppel was previously chief strategy officer for the ailing internet firm.

Rich Riley is replacing Coppel. Riley has been with Yahoo! since it bought the company he co-founded, Log-Me-On.com. He will be based at Yahoo!'s European headquarters in Rolle, Switzerland.

Coppel will stay for the handover to his replacement and leave the company in the first quarter of 2009.

Sue Decker, president of Yahoo! Inc, said, “The appointment of Rich Riley represents the next phase in the evolution of our European and Canadian businesses, enabling us to build on the great foundations laid by Toby Coppel.

The firm has been hit by a string of departures in a turbulent year spent fighting off a takeover attempt by Microsoft, dealing with and finally bowing to Carl Icahn and seeing a proposed advertising pact with Google collapse. The company is still looking for a chief executive to replace founder Jerry Yang who is stepping down. ®

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