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Angie's List hires former Travelocity tech chief

March 11, 2014

Angie’s List has hired a former travel industry executive as its new chief technology officer.

Robert B. Wiseman was CTO for Sabre Travel Network, Sabre Airline Solutions and Travelocity, which are all owned by Southlake, Texas-based Sabre Corp.

Wiseman replaces Manu Thapar, who abruptly left Indianapolis-based Angie’s List last September after two years in the position.

The company said little about the reason for Thapar’s departure, although executives signaled they weren’t satisfied with the pace of e-commerce initiatives at the company.

Angie’s List offers consumer-written reviews of service contractors such as plumbers and roofers. But increasingly it allows contractors to offer special deals online, with Angie’s List capturing a portion of each transaction as additional income.

“Angie’s List is developing all the necessary components to revolutionize home services and I’m looking forward to helping the company reach its ambitious goal,” Wiseman said in a statement.

The Barnsley, England, native previously was senior vice president for future technologies at the travel site Orbitz Inc.

"His experience and track record with high-volume, consumer-centric e-commerce companies will be incredibly valuable to us,” Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle said in a prepared statement.

While a pioneer in consumer reviews of service contractors, Angie’s List has faced increased competition in recent years from rivals such as Yelp, Porch.com and Google Local.  Unlike Angie's List, those sites don’t require consumers to purchase paid memberships.

Angie’s List has not turned an annual profit since it was founded 19 years ago. It has intentionally eschewed profits by spending money to build out a national market presence. Last month, it reported a rare quarterly profit, of $2.8 million, or 5 cents a share.

Angie’s List's stock price last year soared to high of about $28. Lately it has traded at about half that amount. It faces a number of lawsuits from investors alleging executives and directors played up the company’s prospects while selling thousands of their own shares in 2013.

One suit filed by shareholders alleges insiders sold $17 million of their own shares based on material, non-public information.

Angie's List share were up 11 cents Tuesday morning, to $13.41 each.


 

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