STEPHAN Shakespeare is to take the top job at online pollster YouGov, following chief executive Nadhim Zahawi’s selection as a Conservative parliamentary candidate.
Shakespeare, who is currently chief innovation officer at the pollster and a City A.M. columnist, will begin transferring duties immediately. Zahawi will formally hand over the role when the election campaign begins in earnest.
Having been named as candidate for the safe Tory seat of Stratford-on-Avon on Friday, Zahawi will be confident of winning a seat. The outgoing Tory MP John Maples has a majority of more than 12,000.
If he is elected in the summer, Zahawi will step down from YouGov’s board. Other directors include Endemol founder Peter Bazalgette and former Reuters man Nick Jones.
Chairman Roger Parry told City A.M.: “The two lads [Shakespeare and Zahawi] founded the business together and ran it as joint chief executives for a time, so it’s actually business as usual.”
YouGov launched in May 2000 and expanded quickly into Europe, Africa and the US. Its shares have fallen 48 per cent since the start of 2009 in the wake of the downturn. They ended flat at 42.75p yesterday.