Tag Archives: Yellow Pages Group

People – April/May

It’s been another active month for announcements about people in
the Yellow Pages industry.  This regular monthly blog sponsored Hawthorne Executive Search  is all about people in the Yellow Pages industry. If you have news you want to share about someone that is involved in the Yellow Pages industry (including retirees) that we should all know about, drop us a line and tell us how they are doing. Send your submissions to ken@yptalk.com.

Ken Brock:

Ken Brock the founder and President of Names and Numbers has received, The Spirit of Pittsburg award from the Pittsburg, KS Area Chamber of Commerce during their annual meeting which was held Thursday, May 26th.

The Spirit of Pittsburg award is the highest honor bestowed by the association and recognizes an outstanding community member, who through his or her
service, volunteerism and personal sacrifice has made Pittsburg a better place
to live, expecting nothing in return. This outstanding citizen reflects a steady, positive influence on others in daily life.

The award was presented to Mr. Brock by the evening’s special guest, Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback.  During his presentation of the award, Governor Brownback spoke of a local Pittsburg, Kansas doctor, who was assisting victims of the recent Joplin, Missouri tornado. According to Brownback, the doctor stated, God put me in Joplin because I had the skill set to help out. Using the statement as a segue, the governor said, “he believed God put Ken Brock in Pittsburg, not to receive an award as the 2011 Spirit of Pittsburg but because of his skill set and commitment to the city.”

Upon accepting the award Brock noted that “I have made a commitment to the Pittsburg community since moving Names and Numbers to Pittsburg years ago. My wife Debbie and I travel a lot in our work. We travel to a lot of cool places. As soon as we arrive at these nice facilities, at these nice towns, it’s about three or four days before I say, Debbie, I’m home sick. I’m ready to go home now. No matter where I’ve been, I always look forward to getting back to Pittsburg.”

Richard Hanna

Dex One Corporation announced the addition of Richard J. Hanna, as executive vice president of sales and marketing, effective immediately.  Hanna will be responsible for all sales and marketing functions, leading the company’s transition from a product-centric to a customer-centric organization. He will also be tasked with shifting the sales force from a solo-selling model to a team-based approach to increase customer contact frequency and support the delivery of a wider portfolio of digital solutions. Hanna will be based at Dex One headquarters in Cary and report to the company’s CEO Alfred Mockett.

Hanna has held a variety of senior leadership positions at several technology and telecommunications companies, including AT&T, Cidera, MCI, MFS-Intelenet, Motive and Teligent.

“To compete in today’s marketplace we must build a world-class, 21st century sales force that is professionally trained and armed with the latest tools and technology. Rick has a wealth of experience assembling high-performance sales teams and he will ensure this gets done at Dex One,” said Mockett. “Rick has a solid track record of leading the sales and marketing functions in the hyper-competitive technology and telecom sectors; he understands what it takes to win in the marketplace and provide outstanding service and support to customers.”

As president of the small and medium business division at MCI, Hanna guided a $1.5 billion operation with 3,500 employees. He led the restructuring of the field and telemarketing sales efforts, resulting in a rapid double-digit improvement in sales and customer retention.

As president and CEO at MFS-Intelenet, he launched the nation’s first competitive local exchange carrier, growing the company at an annual rate in excess of 40 percent. The company had operations in 45 major markets, with more than 2,000 employees.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the sales transformation at Dex One. This is something I have successfully tackled several times throughout my career and understand the energy and effort required to reach the desired outcome,” said Hanna. “Dex One is at a pivotal time in its history and transformation is essential in order to return to growth.”

Early in his career, Hanna held a variety of management positions in sales and marketing in the telecom industry.  Hanna is a 1977 graduate of the University of
Central Connecticut.

Jim Hail:

The Association of Directory Publishers bestowed its highest distinction on Jim Hail, president and co-owner of Hagadone Directories, Inc. at the group’s recent annual conference.

Presentation of The Wil Lewis Award to Hail took place at the Gold Book Dinner and Awards Ceremony concluding ADP’s annual convention. The award recognizes outstanding lifetime contributions to the directory publishing industry and to the effectiveness of the Association. The Wil Lewis Award is named in honor of the late Wilbur Lewis, founder of White Directory Publishers and a three-time past ADP chairman.

“I am honored and humbled to be only the 11th recipient of The Wil Lewis Award,” Hail said. “It is, I believe, imperative for small directory companies like HDI to have a voice and influence in national industry issues.”

Hail founded HDI in 1987 and is twice past chairman of the board of the Association of Directory Publishers.

“What makes The Wil Lewis Award so prestigious is that it is bestowed not annually, but rather only when a nominee exceeds the lofty threshold set by Wil Lewis himself in the judgment of a minimum of 75 percent of the sitting Directors of the Association,” said Larry Angove, ADP president and chief executive officer.

In presenting the award to Hail together with Rick Lewis, former president and CEO of White Directory Publishers and son of Wilbur Lewis, Angove shared comments of longtime ADP leaders who nominated Hail for consideration.

One stated, “I don’t know where to start when it comes to Jim. He has put his heart and soul into ADP. As chairman of the board, publisher, mentor and teacher, I honestly cannot think of a better choice to receive The Wil Lewis Award.”

Hail is a former newspaper editor and publisher and was publisher of the Coeur d’Alene Press and president of the Hagadone North Idaho Newspaper Group prior to founding HDI. Today HDI publishes regional telephone directories in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon and California.

Steve Blondy

Dex One Corporation has also  announced it has commenced a nationwide search for a new chief financial officer to fill the vacancy created by the pending
departure of current CFO Steven Blondy, 51, who will step down on or before
July 31, 2011.

“We thank Steve for his valuable service to Dex One and its predecessor company R.H. Donnelley. Since joining the company in 2002, Steve has played an important role in expanding operations and improving the company’s cost structure,” said Dex One Chief Executive Officer Alfred Mockett. “His contributions are wide-ranging and we wish him well going forward.”

The separation was mutually agreed upon by the company and Blondy, who will help ensure an orderly transition and receive benefits as outlined in his employment agreement.   A prominent search firm is engaged and is in the process of identifying and evaluating candidates.

Stéphane Marceau

Yellow Page Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Stéphane Marceau, has left the company to pursue other career Interests. His resignation is effective immediately.

“Stéphane came to Yellow Media to lead the digital transformation including overseeing the development and overall marketing of digital and mobile products for the Company’s various brands.  Now, with this digital transformation well under way, we are grateful for his contribution and respect his decision,” said Marc P. Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yellow Media Inc.

Yellow Media has invested significantly over the last few years to expand the knowledge and capability of its marketing function. The current strong marketing executive team will continue to build on the momentum established and ensure continuity. Mr. Marceau will be a special advisor to the organization for a transition period.

Kathy Perez:

Announced that the Directory Assistance and Information Services Conference – Thriving on the Frontier has been scheduled for November 15th – 16th, 2011 at the Landmark Hyatt Regency, Dallas TX.

“Following on the success of last year’s inaugural event we have created a compelling agenda to provide you with the strategies you need and exceptional networking opportunities.   We are pleased to be teaming up with The Paisley
Group to host THE industry event this year.  We have created one single
event that will bring together everyone in the industry for an outstanding
conference. “

Early bird discounts are available at the Paisley Group Conference site. 

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YPA Conference Summary

At a time when a significant number of the industry’s top publishers are struggling financially, a slew of municipalities are pushing required opt-on/opt-out legislation for the printed products, and a substantial economic downturn/weak recovery has small businesses keeping a tight grip on their advertising expenditures, one would expect the annual industry conference from the Yellow Pages Association to be a somber gathering with lots of doom and gloom.  Yet, that wasn’t the case at the April 15th – 19th event held in Las Vegas.  It was certainly not an overly exuberant crowd of about 375 attendees, but one that overall was more optimistic than those who attended last year’s event.

Association Name Change

First, the association has made a bold move to rebrand itself as the “Local Search Association,” Association President Neg Norton indicated that the name change has been under consideration for some time and that “no one on the board [of Directors] thought we should keep doing what we are doing.” The association’s press release noted that:

The Local Search Association represents the best local search marketers in the world. We will continue to serve our long-time Yellow Pages members as well as the ever-expanding universe of companies that connect local buyers and sellers through digital advertising, social networking and mobile platforms.  

The obvious question is whether the name change is purely cosmetic, or does it truly represent a real shift in the association’s mission, and why.  The association is rumored to be after some name players such as Microsoft and Google.  The association’s press release provided some other insights on the name change: 

In the past decade, our industry has evolved from a coalition of companies that publish print directories into a collective group of integrated local search hubs – both in print and online. Because we’re expanding on our original mission of serving Yellow Pages publishers, the Local Search Association is pleased to have these new members – CityGrid, MerchEngine, Kudzu, Telnic Limited, Kenshoo, Thrive Analytics, deCarta, dotMobi, VendAsta Technologies and NO PROBLEM, because they face many of the same opportunities and challenges as our traditional member base.

Given that recent association research indicated that while nearly 70% of US adults still use the printed version of the Yellow Pages directories on a regular basis, the Internet and fast growing mobile web are certainly drawing increased usage. As a result, the association thought the time had come for a re-focusing of sorts that presents the Yellow Pages as more than just print and a readily available online local search tool.

Joe Walsh, the President/CEO of Yellow Book, and now the new association board chairman (who would have thought that would have happened just 5 years ago) commented that “our new brand reflects the transformation of Yellow Pages companies into integrated marketing and local search solutions providers, and better positions us to attract new members.”

Marc Tellier – YPG – “At the apex of transformation”

Among other notable presentations at the conference, one of particular interest was a discussion with Yellow Pages Group CEO Marc Tellier.  He said the “the next three years will bring more change for the Yellow Pages industry than the past three.”  Given the rocky performance of the industry during this extended economic downturn, such a predication was sure to make more than a few attendees uncomfortable.  Other comments from Tellier included:

  • That small/midsize businesses (SMB’s) are an “overwhelmed and underserved” group.
  • When he started some ten plus years ago, 51% of sales force contacts were premise/face to face. Today, that has increased to 76%
  • Based on the full suite of products YPG is selling, the potential market for YPG in Canada is four times that of just the traditional Yellow Pages market
  • The CMR segment needs to consolidate. Leading CMRs have “invested in research and product knowledge, while small CMR shops often do not.”  (The recent implosion of the largest CMR – TMP, was a hot topic in the hallways at the conference)
  • Investment is critical, that YPG has been more aggressive than other directory organizations. And bucking the trend of many publishers, that outsourcing is not his preferred route.

Neg Norton – Association President – A busy time at Association

In Norton’s presentation, he provided a number of compelling stats on changes in the local advertising marketplace:

  • Mobile advertising will grow from 15% of the online advertising market to more than 60% in 2015 (Borrell Associates).
  • Nearly half of SMBs report using Facebook for their business (BIA/Kelsey research), and another 19% use Twitter.
  • Social networking sites now account for more than one-third of all online display ad impressions according to Comscore.
  • More than a third of SMBs increased their use of links and ads on social media sites over the past year, and nearly half planned further increases over the next year
  • And when you add all of that up, of most importance to the industry — 56% of small businesses who will spend on search or social media advertising in 2011 will need help with some aspect of the campaigns (American Express)

No one can deny the statistics Norton covered on the growing use of mobile products:

  • GPS capable handsets grew 16% year over year and now represent 73% of total US mobile users.
  • Smart phones grew 54% and now reflect 28% of total US mobile users.
  • Nearly 70 million people in the U.S. owned smart phones in February 2011 an increase of 13% from the preceding 3 month period.

While these are alarming changes, Norton noted that all of these changes represent a tremendous growth opportunity for the industry.  Norton also provided a status on the usage of Yellow Pages:

  • In 2010, print and internet yellow pages together generated 16.6 billion searches versus 16.9 billion in 2009, a reduction of less than 2%  
  • Print Yellow Pages usage declined 8% from 12 to 11 billion in 2010
  • IYP searches increased 15% to 5.6 billion.
  • The average IYP searcher conducted 4.9 searches during December 2010, a 12% increase from a year earlier

New Board of Directors:

The conference also brought the election of a new board of directors for the Association.  Elected publisher representatives include:   

  • Peter McDonald, SuperMedia
  • Scott Brubaker, Berry
  • Jose Gutierrez, AT&T
  • Alfred Mockett, Dex One
  • Joe Walsh, Yellowbook.
  • Marc Tellier, Yellow Pages Group – International Director

CMR representatives are:

  • Chris Cummings, Marquette Group
  • Norm Hagarty, DAC Group
  • Sharon Sweeney, Fairway Group  
  • Kathleen Decaire-Aden, SMG Directory Marketing

Bill Dinan of Telmetrics is the Associates board representative.

Environment:

Environmental issues continue to be a big item on the Associations agenda.  Norton talked more about efforts in San Francisco, to stop new opt-in legislation.  The Association was joined in a unique coalition fighting effort by groups such as Valley Yellow Pages, AT&T, Seccion Amarilla, the IBEW labor union, The Utility Reform Network, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, ADP association, Chinese Yellow Pages, Rainbow Pages, and other local consumer advocate and business groups.

 Norton highlighted industry successes in recycling rates.  Last year, according to the EPA, directory recycling rates improved from 22% to 35%.   This represents a dramatic shift in both source reduction and recycling rates. 

In our next article, we will cover presentations from other speakers, what we found at the conference from the industry suppliers, and those companies recognized in the annual Industry Excellence Awards.  Stay tuned.

Helena Cain appointed new VP Sales at YPG

Yellow Pages Group (YPG) announced the appointment of Helena C. Cain as Senior Vice-President, Sales effective immediately.

This position had been open for nearly a year.  While Ms. Cain brings over 20 years of senior sales and marketing leadership experience to her national sales responsibilities she does not have any industry background.

Form the company’s press release:

“Helena is a dynamic executive with proven expertise in developing and applying innovative sales methodologies, best practices and performance management systems,” said Marc P. Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yellow Pages Group. “She will be a key member of the company’s executive management team, charged with driving sales revenue in both our print and online franchises as we continue to position our business for future growth.”

A recipient of the prestigious “Top 40 Under 40(TM)” designation, Ms. Cain was formerly Vice-President of Enterprise and SMB Sales for Bell Aliant and xwave. She was responsible for delivering and sustaining revenue in the highly competitive telecom and information technology markets in Quebec, Ontario and the four Atlantic Provinces. Ms. Cain provided leadership in the development and alignment of sales strategies through corporate plans, marketing strategies and performance scorecards.

Ms. Cain is also very active in her community having served on the Board of Directors of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, NB, and is a Director of Canadian Women in Communications.

Could this be the new trend in senior management profiles for the industry??