Spencer Stuart Recruits Board Members for Yelp

February 15, 2019 – Executive search firm Spencer Stuart has placed three board members for Yelp Inc. The firm had been enlisted to evaluate the board’s composition and identify additional director candidates to help drive the online-review website’s strategy.

George Hu, Sharon Rothstein and Brian Sharples were appointed to the board, effective March 1. They will replace Geoff Donaker, Jeremy Levine and Peter Fenton, who notified the company Wednesday that they will be stepping down.

“We are excited to announce the appointment of George, Sharon and Brian to our board,” said Diane Irvine, chairperson of the board. “As we work to capitalize on the opportunities before us to drive long-term growth and deliver value to our shareholders, we are committed to maintaining a board that provides robust oversight and has the right skills to support Yelp. George, Sharon and Brian bring to our board extensive experience as business leaders of relevant verticals at a variety of impressive companies and their expertise will be critical as we implement our strategy over the coming years.”

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp, described the three new directors as experienced business leaders who bring a wealth of practical, hands-on knowledge and skill-sets to the company, including scaling operations, sales, marketing, product and monetization. “George has an extensive track record in operations, including 13 years at Salesforce prior to joining Twilio, where he currently serves as COO,” said Mr. Stoppelman. “Sharon is an accomplished marketing executive who most recently served as CMO of Starbucks, overseeing the growth of their mobile apps and loyalty programs. Brian is a successful technology CEO with significant experience operating e-commerce and marketplace businesses.”

With strong local business information, photos and review content, Yelp provides a platform for consumers to learn about, interact and transact with local businesses of all sizes.

Spencer Stuart’s board practice has deep knowledge of governance issues, and its international network of consultants has conducted more than 1,800 director searches over the past 36 months. More than 30 percent of its director placements last year were women. Clients include public, private equity-backed, major private and family-owned businesses, as well as start-ups and non-profit organizations. Julie Hembrock Daum serves as head of Spencer Stuart’s North American board practice.

Luring Directors

Although boards of directors are considered the backbones of organizations, director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging, say recruiters who conduct searches in that area. According to Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.

At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded “board experienced” directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited. Such candidates are widely sought but can be hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.

As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help find new board members. Most in demand are women, senior leaders with global experience, ethnically diverse professionals and Millennials.

Here’s a brief look at a small selection of search firms and their recent board work taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:

Polachi Inc. has placed Sam King and Angela Tucci as new members of the board of directors at Progress Software in Bedford, MA. Ms. King is senior vice president, general manager and chief strategy officer of Veracode, the application security business of CA Technologies. 

The Katris Group, an executive recruitment firm, has placed Catherine M. Kilbane as a member of the board of directors at Nasdaq-traded Interface Inc., a global commercial flooring company and worldwide leader in sustainability. Ms. Kilbane served as SVP, general counsel and secretary of the Sherwin Williams.

Greenwich Harbor Partners placed Eric Johnson as a member of the board of directors at the New York Pops. He is the eighth director to be placed on the Pops board by the Greenwich, CT-based search firm. The assignment was led by managing directors Carrie Pryor and Ted Pryor. 

Diversified Search has recruited Betsy Atkins, Dee Dee Myers and Wendy Webb as members of the board of directors for Wynn Resorts. Wynn Resorts is pleased to welcome Betsy, Dee Dee and Wendy to its board of directors following a thorough search process that included input from shareholders and Diversified Search.

Boyden has placed Joe Guith, Matthew Wadiak and Etienne Patout as members of the board of directors at Goodwill Industries International. “After an exhaustive search, Boyden is enthusiastic about the talent that Joe, Matthew and Etienne bring to the Goodwill team,” said Alicen Blair-Sibly, a managing partner of Boyden in Atlanta. 

Polachi Inc. placed Sam King and Angela Tucci as new members of the board of directors at Progress Software in Bedford, MA. Ms. King is senior vice president, general manager and chief strategy officer of Veracode, the application security business of CA Technologies. Ms. Tucci is CEO of Apto.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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