CEO and Three Top Execs Ousted at WebTrends

Big news rocked the analytics industry for the second time in two weeks as WebTrends’s board of directors ousted CEO Greg Drew and three of his top executives.

The dismissals, which WebTrends said were motivated by growth concerns, directly followed Omniture’s agreement last week to acquire Visual Sciences. The conjunction of events was coincidental, according to Tim Kopp, chief marketing officer for WebTrends.

“We’re in a high growth industry, and we’re performing quite well and growing double digits, but the board would like to see us do even better,” said Kopp. “We’re fortunate to have a deep enough bench that we can make some changes.”

Released along with CEO Drew were Jason Palmer, vice president of product management; Tore Steen, vice president of business and corporate development; and Hamid Bahadori, vice president of product development and hosted operations. Replacing Drew as CEO will be Bruce Coleman, former interim CEO at Websense, while John Rodkin and Leo Chang will lead product management. Both joined through the acquisition of ClickShift last December.

The dismissals followed the release in late July of the latest version of the WebTrends Marketing Lab product suite. Enhancements included a new scoring system for measuring engagement and user activity in addition to mere page views. More recently the firm introduced new reporting tools for its retail customers.

Prior to the executive dismissals, several non-executive staffers fled the company recently, according to Eric Peterson, founder of consultancy Web Analytics Demystified. “Certainly that, combined with Greg, Jason, Tore and Hamid all being asked to leave… raises some concerns,” he said.

Peterson added, “This has been one of the weirder weeks in Web analytics ever. One of the biggest publicly traded companies gets acquired, and another lets its executives go. Now I’m afraid to wake up tomorrow and find out what else might be going on,” he said.

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