Digital services company Yells for help

YELL, the online services directory, has appointed a new chief strategy and business development officer after a turbulent few years packed with debt and digital competition.

Matt Anderson, the first to fill this new global role, will guide the struggling company in its continuing transformation from Yellow Pages distributor to a leader in the emerging local e-marketplace.

The transition has not been smooth for Yell so far, due to a £2.6bn stack of debt and increasing competition from other business search engine providers that impinges on the company’s print revenues.

Anderson will attempt to turn the company around by building strategic partnerships and developing new online ideas. He is already familiar with the business, having advised Yell on its new business strategy launched last summer, the establishment of relationships with Bazaarvoice and Netbiscuits and the acquisition of Znode.

Currently a partner in the consumer, media and digital practice at consulting firm Booz & Co, Anderson has worked with several Fortune 100 companies on significant corporate transformations and is considered to be an expert in digital strategy.

He said: “I relish the chance to be a major part of driving the transformation and believe my expertise will help position Yell to lead in this space.

“Yell is becoming a global digital solutions player in the e-marketplace and its assets will differentiate it to capture value in the digital world.”

Chief executive Mike Pocock said: “As a key member of my executive team, Matt will bring his strategic insights and relationships directly to the centre of Yell's ongoing transformation.”

Yell also appointed Freshfields’ Libby Chambers, formerly of Barclays Bank and Bank of America, as a non-executive director and member of the renumeration committee.

Shares in the directories group remain at a constant 5p – a fraction of the £3 they were before March 2008, when Yell was listed on the FTSE 100.