Reading Local Tea Leaves Via Job Changes
Sometimes, you can tell a lot about where a company is going by who stays and who leaves — especially if you think you have an inkling why.
I don't want to turn this into an Executive Turntable page or anything. But this summer, a review of my LinkedIn contacts and my rolodex shows me that a bunch of talented people have switched positions. Of course, I never say anything about my personal friends. But here are nine execs I admire who have moved along. See if you agree with my analysis.
1. Tim Lambert, VP of sales at Spot Runner. Tim formerly was head of Yahoo! Spot Marketing, head of sales at HotJobs and head of sales at KRD. I can understand this move totally. Spot Runner, a Web-based service that places small-business ads on cheap TV slots, is one of the most exciting opportunities in local sales.
2. Sandhi Kozsuch, director of broadband and digital at Cox TV. Sandhi was formerly SVP at WorldNow. I've been warned not to read too much into this move, since Sandhi is a good old boy and is going home to the South and to Cox, an alma mater. My sources also tell me that WorldNow continues to be a fast-growing Web site builder for TV stations. But Sandhi has definitely been the face of WorldNow and a great ambassador for television stations in their interactive efforts. The move does makes me wonder, just a little.
3/4. Mark Canon, chief product officer at Autobytel. Mark had previously been in charge of search at AOL, and before that, a leader at Switchboard. AOL is a challenging place to work these days. The way I see it is that Autobytel is a great turnaround situation, and President Jim Riesenbach, who arrived from AOL in late spring, has recruited some of his best people to join him out West in Irvine, CA. Not a bad move if you can afford the real estate here. Also joining Autobytel as VP of business intelligence is Arthur Brodeur, who held the same position at AOL Search.
5. Ron Stitt, VP of digital media and Internet operations at Fox TV Stations/MyNetwork TV. Ron had previously been in charge of Web sites at ABC-owned TV stations. This move tells me Fox convinced Rob that it is totally serious about building up its TV station Web site business.
6. Bill Blevins, VP of Gatehouse Media. Bill had been VP of CNHI, and before that he used The Fredericksburg Star-Telegram as his interactive laboratory. Bill is probably the leader in transforming community newspapers into Web enterprises. Why wouldn't he jump for the chance to join a company that is going public, and where he reports directly to top management?
7. Tony Lee, EVP at Adicio. Tony had been Publisher at Dow Jones' CareerJournal. Adicio is one-third-owned by Dow Jones, and Tony has been in a great position to witness its expansion from "Careercast" to a broad vertical program. Plus, the company let him stay in NJ.
8. Andy Vogel, GM, BackFence Chicago. Andy had been in charge of digital strategy with The Journal Review in Milwaukee and is the writer of "Interactive in Milwaukee: Laverne and Shirley don't work here anymore!" Longtime members of the Kelsey community know Andy from Nextron. Now the blog is Interactive in Chicagoland. My take is that the BackFence job was too fun to resist … although the development of a social network business model is, by all standards, a real challenge.
9. Greg Stuart, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, to … where? After five years, in which he oversaw the rise of IAB from a disaster zone to a shiny Cadillac, Greg has told everyone he is leaving this winter to avoid conflicts of interest. He's been a leading voice in getting advertisers to focus more on the local opportunity.
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"Sometimes, you can tell a lot about where a company is going by who stays and who leaves — especially if you think you have an inkling why."