Yellow swaps one US import boss for another

Chris Armistead

In September, Yellow Pages Group interim CEO Scott Pomeroy told NBR ONLINE he wanted to stay on as permanent boss.

Today, the privately held directory company announced his departure.

The turnaround specialist, who laid off 20% of staff in February and restructured the company around a reseller partnership with Google, will be replaced by another US import, Chris Armistead, who comes to Yellow from AT&T.

Mr Pomeoroy is the second high-profile departure in a month, following Kellie Nathan's exit.

New directions
Yellow's consortium of lenders – including BNZ, ANZ and Westpac – wrote off most of the $1.5 billion borrowed for its highly leveraged 2007 purchase from Telecom.

It says it is now trading profitably.

New CEO Scott Pomeroy – a US import – has swallowed the company's pride and entered a reseller agreement with Google for its search ad business.

Yellow is now understood to be New Zealand's largest purchaser of Google Ad words (on behalf of companies that have bought a Yellow listing, and to promote Yellow searches for generic categories).

The company has also focused on offering services to small businesses who want to promote themselves online.

In the Auckland market, Yellow has also been involved in a stoush with NZ Post's Localist, with both sides pushing print and online directories with suburb-specific listings.

The battle has included a barney over Yellow's use of Localist's signature crimson.

So far, with Yellow and Localist both cutting back, it is looking like a war with no winner.

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6 Comments & Questions

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When will the consortium of banks come to their senses with these foreign turkeys. They understand nothing about the unique dynamics of NZ SME's and even less about NZ consumers. How can you justify having a foreigner at the helm of a NZ local business directory..... Huh? Surely we have enough talent here within NZ?

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Apparently not

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There's a Kiwi running Australia's Yellow Pages (Sensis) now - Rick Ellis. I will be interesting to see if he can do any better.

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Yellow hiring a experienced campaigner with a the phonebook directory pedigree? Whoop-de-do! Looks like another case study in the preparation for economics 101 class to add to their existing Kodak, blacksmiths,and haberdasheries examples...

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Bring back Buck

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No surprise Yellow have hired yet another with Phonebook background. Their board is also largely made up of those from the dying sectors of the printing and publishing industry. In spite of the rhetoric these highly paid people still see online as a competitor, not an opportunity.

Under 1% of those with a printing background have successfully made the migration to online for distribution or even to help their sales and customer service. Sadly, the time for Yellow to take advantage of the shift to digital has long gone. Will they be gone by Xmas?

Maybe we should bring back Buck. At least he has a better background and the essential leadership skills.

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