Joe Walsh, the executive who arguably did more than anyone to make the Yellow Pages a competitive industry in the United States, has resigned as CEO of Yellowbook, the U.S. division of U.K.-based Yell Group.
Walsh has been with Yellowbook for 24 years, leading its growth from a small independent publisher in Long Island into a billion-dollar independent publisher with a competitive presence in most major U.S. cities.
In recent years, Walsh has helped Yellowbook pivot from being a largely print focused company into an operation that will generate about a quarter of its revenues from digital products this year.
In an email this morning, Walsh tried to offer some reassurance to Yellowbook’s employees:
“I believe we have the right strategic initiatives in place to grow our company into new markets and increase the profitability of our business. Now is therefore the right time to hand over to someone who can lead our company into the next stage of its life.”
Walsh will be succeeded on an interim basis by Bob Gregerson, who currently runs Yell Connect. A search in under way for a permanent replacement.
Walsh’s depature is momentous given his tremendous influence on the Yellow Pages industry. However, it is not a big surprise, given the changes being implemented by Yell’s new management team, led by Mike Pocock. the new team is trying to run Yell on a more centralized basis than predecessor John Condron, who gave his operating units considerable autonomy.