This morning Idearc Media announced Scott Klein as its new CEO, replacing interim CEO Frank Gatto, who returns to his former role as executive vice president of operations. Klein comes from a technology and consumer-product background, and is currently an operating partner at the venture capital firm Symphony Technology Group, where he was most recently focused on turning around Symphony’s flagship investment Information Resources Inc.
This announcement gives Idearc a chance to establish stability after a period of management flux. When Kathy Harless was removed as CEO in February, she was replaced by then chair Jack Mueller, who resigned just days later, citing health concerns. For the past three months, Idearc has conducted a search for a permanent CEO. Idearc appears to have made a conscious decision to go outside the Yellow Pages industry. Klein had prior stints at EDS, pcMall, eCost and Pepsico, but nothing in Yellow Pages.
Klein faces a big challenge at Idearc, which has suffered a steep loss in its share price, the result of fears that negative top-line growth and a heavy debt load (about US$9 billion at Idearc) have undercut the former view of Yellow Pages stocks as a safe, stable investment.
Around midday, Idearc’s stock was trading down about 3 percent, with the broader market also down.
Here is a quote from the press release:
“All of us at Idearc are thrilled to have an innovative and dynamic leader of Scott’s stature and diverse experience as Chief Executive Officer,” said Don Reed, Chairman of the Board. “Scott is a unique talent possessing an insightful understanding of the sales and marketing imperatives required for our business to grow. In addition, he possesses the strategic focus needed to expand and extend the Idearc brand, coupled with a well disciplined operational focus.”