Joe Davis, a web analytics pioneer best known for his work at Coremetrics, has taken over as CEO of his one-time competitor, Webtrends, with the goal of boosting revenue growth.
It's a task that contributed to the demise of former CEO Alex Yoder five months ago. That's when Yoder was replaced after five years in the corner office by board member David Mitchell, operating partner at Francisco Ventures, which controls the privately owned company. Yesterday's announcement caught many by surprise because the company gave no public indication Mitchell was serving on an interim basis.
Davis sold Coremetrics to IBM in 2010, and has been out of the analytics business while the big data revolution exploded over the past few years. Now he's back in the middle of it, hoping to do better than Yoder, who came to Webtrends with a sales background 12 years earlier and rose to the ranks to chief executive.
The Transition and Other Questions
CMSWire asked Davis about the leadership transition and four other critical issues, including revenue growth, Webtrends' technology and the product pipeline.
CMSWire: You're following David Mitchell, who was only CEO for five months. Why the change?
Davis: David's real job is that he's an operating partner at Francisco Ventures, the private equity firm that owns Webtrends. So when the company decided to make a change with the last CEO, who'd been here five years, they put Dave in on an interim role to go in and see the real condition of the company while the search started for a long-term CEO. David's been running that search, looking around while working with the team and doing some work with cleaning up the balance sheet ... David will remain on the board, but starting this week or next week will be working on another Francisco portfolio company.
CMSWire: You were a direct competitor with Alex Yoder, correct?
Davis: I was a little bit. We're in a competitive space, and we both had products in web analytics that were doing optimization. The difference was in the markets we went after. Coremetrics, when I started, was 100 percent focused on retailers. We grew out of that a little bit, but even at the time I sold it, we were still about 80 percent retail. Webtrends is much more balanced. It has retail clients, but it's probably 10 percent to 15 percent of the business. Its bigger markets are travel, financial services, media. So even though we were in the same space in sizeable companies, we would only occasionally meet on competitive deals. We knew each other , and it was competitive. I also knew the Francisco guys a long time, so it was kind of a friendly rivalry.
CMSWire: Is the technology similar? Do you feel comfortable coming into Webtrends with its approach?