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
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
It is not yet known whether Hart will be replaced at Sunday
MEDIA BOSSES WHO’VE GONE E-WOL
Fru Hazlitt, sales director, Capital Radio - to Yahoo! as European sales
Martina King, managing director, TSMS - to Yahoo! as managing
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
David McMurtrie, director, MediaCom - to Real Media, as marketing
Davina Lines, commercial director, New Media Age - to The Net