Jeeves lures Hart away from print

Sunday Business managing director Andy Hart has defected to Ask Jeeves, becoming the latest in a long line of traditional media bosses to go e-wol.

Sunday Business managing director Andy Hart has defected to Ask

Jeeves, becoming the latest in a long line of traditional media bosses

to go e-wol.



Hart, who was the youngest managing director on Fleet Street at just 33,

will take on the role of chief executive of Ask Jeeves in the UK and

Ireland.



Ask Jeeves launched in the US in 1997, backed by venture capital, and

then floated last July. It answers ’natural language’ questions from

consumers, directing them to online information that helps them with

their queries. Carlton and Granada both took a 25 per cent stake in the

UK version of the website last month for a total of pounds 40 million,

valuing the business at pounds 80 million.



Hart, whose background is in magazine sales and media planning and

buying, has only been with Sunday Business for 18 months but said he

feels he will be leaving the paper in a solid state.



’The time to get into the internet is here and now,’ he commented. ’Of

course I’ll be sad to leave, but I feel we’ve achieved a lot.’ Under

Hart’s tenure, advertising revenues have increased 300 per cent, copy

sales have reached a record high of over 60,000 and the ad department

has been restructured to give advertisers the option of a package that

includes The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday as well as Sunday Business.

Hart also oversaw the ’adventure capitalists’ advertising campaign.



He is now looking forward to developing Ask Jeeves. ’It is a perfect

service because anyone can use it, however little they know about the

internet. And the more websites there are out there, the more we need a

site which saves us from trawling through hundreds of them to find the

information we want.’ He said he hopes to see Ask Jeeves climb into the

top 15 most visited sites by the end of the year.



In the next few months, Hart expects to start hiring staff and promoting

the site. ’I will consider outsourcing sales, but I think there is a

good chance we will be building up a sales team, as well as increasing

the editorial team and hiring marketing staff and an operations

team.’



It is not yet known whether Hart will be replaced at Sunday

Business.





MEDIA BOSSES WHO’VE GONE E-WOL



Fru Hazlitt, sales director, Capital Radio - to Yahoo! as European sales

director



Martina King, managing director, TSMS - to Yahoo! as managing

director



Jerry Glover, managing director, National Geographic Channel - to Yahoo!

as commercial director



Mark Booth, CEO, BSkyB - to News Corp’s E-partners, as CEO



Stephen Grabiner, CEO, ONdigital - to Apax Partners



Toby Constantine, marketing director, Times Newspapers - to Talkcast



Richard Firminger, sales director, CMP - to DoubleClick as sales

director



David McMurtrie, director, MediaCom - to Real Media, as marketing

operations director



Davina Lines, commercial director, New Media Age - to The Net

Imperative.



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