First Briggs Ferguson took over the helm at Superpages. Now Mark Canon, formerly of AutoByTel and AOL, is joining Yell as head of new media in the UK. Canon, who was also one of the founders of Switchboard (now owned by Idearc), is very smart and is a strong choice for Yell.
These are “new media” guys moving into traditional media companies. Yesterday Google hired an executive from Bell Canada to be its CFO (“old media” to “new media”) — cross pollination, one might say.
According to the Yell press release, Cannon “joins Yell on July 9 and will take direct responsibility for the UK’s new media teams covering strategy, product and service development, and technology across internet, voice and mobile channels.”
Yell has been suffering stock declines in the same way its American counterparts have, as investors react to recessionary pressures. But they’re also nervous about the long-term outlook for the industry.
I’m sure Canon will bring some fresh perspective and energy to the newly created role. Yell is privileged in a way that American directory publishers are not because it owns the yellow pages brand. However, with increasing competition from “2.0″ style sites in the UK (TrustedPlaces, Welovelocal, TouchLocal, etc.), that’s not the asset it once was.
But Yell has also been more proactive about expanding its online content than other publishers and it has moved more aggressively into mobile than other directory publishers (this is true in Europe more generally).