Ex-Yahoo GC Turns to Online Real Estate at Auction.com
When Michael Callahan took a job as a legal assistant after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1990, he probably didn’t imagine that he would be at the epicenter of a major business and cultural upheaval. Indeed, the digital-tech revolution that Callahan has had a hand in forming was just in its infancy when Auction.com’s new executive vice president, chief legal officer, and secretary graduated from the University of Connecticut law school in 1995.
Auction.com is an online real estate marketplace that sells residential and commercial properties across the country, and recently expanded to Germany. Since 2007, the company says it has sold more than $20 billion in assets, including a $73 million dollar office building in California. “It’s a great opportunity,” Callahan told CorpCounsel.com, calling the company the “online real estate marketplace of the future.”
Callahan, who started at Auction.com in January, takes over from departing legal chief Mary Claire Quella. (No information was available on why Quella left or whether she is pursuing new opportunities.) Callahan is best known for his long career at Yahoo, where he worked from 1999 to July of last year. Prior to Yahoo, Callahan began his legal career as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, where he had worked as an assistant in the Boston and San Francisco offices. After a short in-house stint at Electronics for Imaging, he moved to Yahoo, where he held various positions during his 13-year tenure—including most recently executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Callahan said that he left Yahoo to “take on some new challenges in my career.”
These challenges include heading up the 10-person legal team at Auction.com and taking responsibility for all of the company’s legal matters—including regulatory, intellectual property, and real estate licensing issues in 48 states, along with government relations. His in-house team includes two of his former Yahoo colleagues, Mindy Heppberger and Eugene Lao, whom Callahan recruited since joining Auction.com. Callahan reports directly to Auction.com CEO Jeffrey Frieden.
“Among many different opportunities, this is about the most unique technology play that I saw in the Valley,” Callahan said. He noted that he’s excited to be working at a company that has the ability to “disrupt” the real estate market, and he likened the creativity and product development at Auction.com to Yahoo’s early days.