Big Changes Afoot Under New Hibu CEO
David Eckert hasn’t let any grass grow under his feet since taking the helm last month at the global search and directory company Hibu. Eckert, who had been serving as Hibu’s “operational” chief restructuring officer, was named CEO in March, replacing the departed Mike Pocock.
Hibu operates in the United Kingdom, Unites States, Spain and South America. Last year, Hibu went through a major restructuring that placed its UK operations under “administration.”
Soon after taking the reins, Eckert shook up his management team, leading to the departure of some senior executives, including Mark Payne and Bob Gregerson, two of Pocock’s top executives. Others who came in under Pocock have been retained or even given expanded roles. One example is Chief Digital Officer Matt Anderson, who remains in his job but with greater authority and a mandate to growth the companies online presence business.
And today, news reports revealed that Hibu will shut down its hyper-local print magazine project, which had grown to more than 600 titles in 20 states. Eckert cited no clear path to profitability as the reason for the shut down. The magazine had targeted high income households.
In addition, Hibu is working to reduce its production costs, eliminating jobs in Cedar Rapids, King of Prussia and other locations, and shifting much of its print and digital production to India and the Philippines.
These moves are fairly predictable. Eckert’s charge is to turn Hibu around, which will mean reducing costs and narrowing its focus on products that show promise in driving growth, in particular digital growth. Elevating Anderson’s role makes sense, given websites has been a relative bright spot for Hibu, which has suffered though steep revenue declines in its core print and IYP business over the past several years.