Ask.com CEO steps down amid shake-up

Jim Lanzone, who'd been on the job less than two years, is leaving the company in a management reshuffle at parent InterActiveCorp.

Ask.com Chief Executive Officer Jim Lanzone is leaving the company in a management shake-up at parent InterActiveCorp, the company announced late Wednesday.

Ask.com

Lanzone took over the CEO spot in April 2006 when then-CEO Steve Berkowitz left to head up Microsoft's MSN and Windows Live expansion. Lanzone will serve as entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures while remaining in an advisory role at Ask.com for a few months.

The Ask.com leadership change comes as IAC prepares to spin off HSN, Ticketmaster, Interval International, and Lending Tree.

"These changes are intended to strengthen and streamline the operating structure at IAC, both leading up to our intended spin-offs, and beyond," Barry Diller, CEO of IAC, said in a statement. He credited Lanzone with turning around Ask.com in the last two years.

Lanzone will be replaced by Jim Safka, who will also continue as CEO of Primal Ventures, a venture unit for IAC that incubates business for. Safka, 39, previously was CEO of Match.com and held management positions at AT&T Wireless and E-Trade Financial and worked at Intuit, Warner Bros., and Paramount Pictures.

Meanwhile, Scott Garell has been named president of Ask.com. Garell has been CEO of IAC Consumer Applications & Portals, which includes Evite, since 2005. Prior to that he was executive vice president of domestic sites and search, including Ask.com.

Replacing Garell is John Park, currently executive vice president and general manager of toolbars and portals within the portals division.

Despite dumping the Ask Jeeves name and redesigning the site last year, Ask.com remains the No. 4 search engine, behind Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, but ahead of AOL. Ask.com's U.S. market share has to 4.1 percent from 3.7 percent, according to Hitwise. It was 5 percent in mid-2006, Hitwise reported.

IAC acquired Ask.com in 2005 for $1.5 billion.

 

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