ValueClick Reshuffles Management

Just prior to its fourth-quarter and 2000 earnings announcement, ad network ValueClick shuffled its upper ranks, bumping its chief operating officer out of the day-to-day management structure and into the vice chairman slot.

Now, former COO Earle Malm will oversee initiatives to form strategic relationships with complementary business partners.

Replacing Malm at the Westlake Village, Calif.-based firm will be Sam Paisley, who formerly served as executive vice president for corporate development, and who is credited with helping to expand ValueClick’s ad offerings — all of which are cost-per-action, cost-per-lead, or cost-per-click.

That expansion has predominantly been through the acquisition of several companies or competitors that share ValueClick’s pay-per-performance model. Most recently, the firm snapped up email signup network Z Media last month.

“With our recent acquisition activity, we need an equal, senior-level focus both on operations, as well as on revenue generation and strategic relationship development,” said ValueClick chairman and chief executive Jim Zarley. “We are fortunate to be able to draw from our existing management team to fulfill both needs.”

As chief operating officer, Paisley will direct the management and development of the company’s infrastructure, including technology, network development and network operations. He’ll also oversee ValueClick’s corporate development activities.

Aside from the upper-level tweaking, ValueClick has been relatively isolated from the woes plaguing the online ad industry. Two of the major player in the network space — 24/7 Media and CMGI’s Engage — have both encountered serious difficulties relating to cash flow as of late. New York-based 24/7 said it’s exploring unspecified “alternatives” with regard to its financial position, while Andover, Mass.’s Engage earlier this year cut half of its 1,100-person staff.

ValueClick routinely points to its own business model — that is, the performance-based model — as the reason it’s been one of the few ad firms not to report massive layoffs, while impression-based players like 24/7 Media, Engage, and even industry leader DoubleClick (which has a 10 percent stake in ValueClick) have announced sizable cuts.

Whether that situation will change Thursday, when ValueClick is set to release its earnings, remains in question. But if it doesn’t, the ad network certainly will have more ammunition to support its model over those of competitors.

“I am excited by the challenge of taking on this new role at such a critical juncture in the online advertising sector,” Paisley said. “This is a natural next step for both me and ValueClick as we shift our strategic emphasis from the aggressive international expansion and acquisition program … to seamless integration and efficient operations.”

“Being able to lead this effort with a company as financially sound as ValueClick is something that I look forward to, and I believe it will create significant opportunities for both our advertiser and Web site publisher partners,” Paisley added.

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