Changing of the guard at Yellow Pages owner

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OW Pages owner Hibu yesterday announced a purge of its top brass, after saying its chief executive, chairman and non-executive directors planned to step down after its current financial restructuring is resolved.

Hibu said chairman Bob Wigley would be replaced by Alfred Mockett, but a new chief executive had not yet been appointed to take the reins from Mike Pocock. Tony Bates is set to continue as chief financial officer in the newly restructured group.

All those leaving the company would step down in the early part of next year the company said.

Wigley said: “Mike (Pocock) was brought in to lead the group through its transformation process, to resolve its debt burden and to re-position the group for future growth.

“During his tenure, (he) and the management team have significantly reduced the debt burden and the cost base of the company, whilst developing and implementing a digital business strategy that is providing the foundations for future growth. hibu has become a leading player in the field of website design, e-commerce, search, display and magazines for SMEs globally.”

Lenders took control of the company in a debt-for-equity deal in July, ending Hibu’s two-year struggle with a debt pile of £2.3bn.

Hibu’s senior steering committee of lenders included Soros Fund Management, Blackstone’s credit fund GSO and Deutsche Bank .

Directory publishers like Hibu and Canada-based Yellow Media have grappled with a relentless fall in sales since the arrival of online search engines such as Google to find local listings.