The recent personnel changes at European Directories — the addition of Peter Darpo in the Netherlands, Kimberli Lewis in the Czech Republic, the exit of Lex Cohen and the addition of Cornel Riklin as CEO — signal a significant change in the organization.
The former Yellow Brick Road organization, now known as European Directories, was a loose collection of directory properties joined only in name. With each organization having its own structure, selling and publishing systems, and operational practices, joining these properties together in an efficient manner meant a major investment in a single platform and a dedicated effort by the executive management team to migrate each country into a core operating structure and process.
Print product revenues remain strong driven by the strongest unit, Telefoongids. Beyond the print products, the idea of a combined Internet platform covering all the countries remains an attractive goal for the organization and could be the focus of future acquisitions.
The addition of Cornel Riklin may also signal a strong appetite on behalf of the investment group for additional acquisitions to strengthen its position in both print and online, fill in the gaps in Europe and compete with World Directories. Considering Riklin’s investment and business development background, he appears the right leader to expand the organization and provide guidance on more structural alignment. This should be an interesting story to watch as it unfolds over the next 12 to 18 months.