Hearst has hired a former Yahoo executive to head up digital for its newspapers division.

Robertson Barrett, who most recently served as vice president of media strategy and operation at Yahoo, joined Hearst on Jan. 4 as president of digital media.

Barrett, who reports to Hearst president and chief executive Steven Swartz and Hearst Newspapers president Mark Aldam, is based at Hearst Tower in New York.

The new hire is responsible for digital development and product innovation across Hearst Newspapers’ local markets.

“Over the past decade, Hearst Newspapers has been a leader in digital product development,” Aldam said. “Rob’s unique leadership and content orientation will ensure we remain out in front of digital innovation to meet evolving consumer expectations.”

Aldam said each year for the past four years his division has “grown earnings,” due largely to an increase in digital audience and revenue, which are up 23 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Barrett has been tapped to “accelerate” the company’s investment in “custom solutions and innovative consumer experiences,” which includes native advertising.

Previously, Barrett served as vice president of Yahoo News and Yahoo Finance. From 2010 to 2011, he worked as chief strategy officer of Idealab’s Perfect Market, a Comcast-backed venture, and before that,  served as executive vice president of Tribune Interactive, where he ran online properties in 40 U.S. markets. He has also worked as senior vice president for digital at The Los Angeles Times.

“Hearst has always been extraordinarily entrepreneurial, and no media company is better positioned to super-serve its local markets with digital media,” Barrett offered.

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