Yell Group‘s longtime CEO, John Condron, and CFO John Davis are planning to leave the company. Condron will retire in May 2011, while Davis plans to leave as soon as a successor is in place. The announcements weren’t well received by financial markets. Yell shares were off by 22 percent on the announcement. The market apparently read the leadership change as a sign of instability, even though Condron’s retirement should not come as a tremendous shock given his age (60) and 30-year tenure with the company.
Yell also announced its full-year 2010 earnings today. Some highlights include an 11.5 percent decline in group revenues (13.8 percent at constant currency), with revenues dropping 12.2 percent in the U.K. Print in the U.K. was down 18.8 percent. In the U.S. (Yellowbook) the print decline was 18.5 percent, which means Yellowbook’s print results are more or less in line with U.S. incumbents. Yellowbook’s overall decline was 14.4 percent. Online growth was 7.7 percent in the U.K., 18.2 percent in the U.S. and 19.2 percent in Spain, where print was off by a staggering 29.3 percent, and total revenues were down by 16.6 percent.
Condron is an institution in the global Yellow Pages industry, having joined the company in 1980 and assuming the mantle of managing director of then Yellow Pages Group in 1994. Condron has led the company from its days as a division of British Telecom, through its divestiture from BT, international expansion into the United States, Spain and Latin America, and the more recent economic downturn and migration of the business from print to multiproduct. He and Davis also saw the company through a GBP 660 million capital raising last year that succeeded in easing Yell Group’s debt burden.
Davis joined Yell as CFO in 2000. He was previously with the Pearson Group. Davis has indicated no specific plans, other than to pursue other career opportunities.