MONTREAL – The CEO of Yellow Media, the company that owns the Yellow Pages directories, leaves as it continues to struggle with low print revenues in a digital world.
Yellow Media Ltd. (TSX: Y) is looking for a replacement for Marc Tellier, who has been President and CEO of the company and his predecessors since October 2001.
“We thank Marc for his leadership and many years of dedicated service to Yellow Pages Group and his willingness to stay on to help make a smooth transition,” said Chairman of the Board, Robert MacLellan, in a statement. press release Thursday.
During Tellier’s tenure, the company was hit by declining printing revenues as consumers began to use their home computers, tablets and smartphones to research information on local businesses.
It transformed the business from a print directory publisher to an online publisher by expanding its services from business listings to digital services, including video production and website building for small and medium businesses. .
In its most recent quarter, online revenue was about 38 percent of total revenue.
The transition to a digital business has resulted in a major financial restructuring and so far Yellow Media has been able to reduce its debt by approximately $ 1 billion. The company stopped paying its dividend to shareholders in 2011.
Tellier had also aggressively grown the business, making a number of acquisitions, some of which were unsuccessful.
Yellow Media sold Trader Corp., home of AutoTrader magazine, to London-based private equity firm Apax Partners for $ 745 million, well below its purchase price.
Trader was formed in June 2006 with the integration of Classified Media (Canada) Holdings Inc. and Trader Media Corporation and was purchased for a total of $ 1.2 billion.
Tellier has also had to contend with search engine giant Google, which offers free business ads to connect with customers.
Yellow Pages abandoned the duplicate directories published by Canpages, purchased in 2010, and also sold LesPAC.com and the sale of Deal of the Day.
In addition, Tellier also purchased Canada411.ca and RedFlagDeals.com.
The company created Mediative to meet the digital needs of national advertisers. To do this, Yellow Media spent $ 60 million to buy companies such as Enquiro, a search engine marketing company, as well as the national retail advertising company Ad Spalsh Media and Uptrend Media, an advertising company. independent online.
McGill University associate professor Karl Moore said that in hindsight, Tellier had probably bought too much.
“But at the time, clearly, the market thought it was brilliant,” said Moore, who teaches at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management.
Tellier moved the business to the internet, but the question is whether he did so quickly enough, Moore said.
“It’s in hindsight that you say ‘No’. But when you look at the industry in the world, it’s done one of the best jobs in an industry that’s a dog.”
RBC Capital Markets analyst Andrew Calder hasn’t put much emphasis on Tellier’s departure and helping him transition to a new CEO.
“In our opinion, this will come as no surprise to the market and is consistent with the broader restructuring of the business,” Calder said in a research note.
Yellow Media, a former subsidiary of the company that owns Bell Canada, has been split up as an independent publisher of telephone advertisements and advertising directories.
Last fall, Yellow Media announced its intention to create approximately 170 positions in Montreal in information and digital technology. But about 125 office positions would be moved to other company offices across Canada from Montreal.
Tellier will remain with Yellow Pages Group until the appointment of the new CEO, but no later than August 15.
He said it was an honor to lead the group.
“Following the recapitalization that was implemented in December 2012, I believe that Yellow Pages Group is now well positioned to successfully continue its digital transformation,” said Tellier.
Shares of Yellow Media were down 27 cents or 2.58 percent to $ 10.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in mid-afternoon Thursday.