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Angie's List shuffles brass, names third tech chief in two years

December 17, 2014

Angie's List announced some senior-level shuffling Tuesday, moves that come against a backdrop of the company's slipping stock price and continued speculation of a buyout.

The Indianapolis-based consumer reviews company said that Chief Technology Officer Robert Wiseman, who joined the company in March, would be moving into a consulting role. Former ExactTarget executive Darin Brown would replace him as senior vice president of technology.

That would make Brown the firm's third technology chief in less than two years. Angie's List hired Manu Thapar as its chief technology officer in October 2011, but unceremoniously announced his departure in September 2013. It hired Wiseman from Travelocity parent Sabre Corp. to replace Thapar in March 2014.

The company said Tuesday that Dallas-based Wiseman opted to become a consultant after deciding not to permanently relocate to Indianapolis. He helped recruit Brown and will assist with the transition, the firm said.

Brown, who served in senior positions at Double-Take Software Inc. and ChaCha Search Inc., was most recently ExactTarget Marketing Cloud's vice president of Excelerate, a cross-functional team responsible for closing product gaps identified by customers.

In addition to the C-suite shift in technology gurus, Angie's List also announced Tuesday that Shelly Towns, vice president of product, would become senior vice president of product.

Towns has spent five years in various marketing positions at the company and is credited with leading the company's rebranding effort in 2010.

The appointments for Brown and Towns will be effective Jan. 5. Both will report directly to CEO Bill Oesterle.

"Product vision, engineering excellence and mobile technology are fundamental to the achievement of our marketplace strategy," Oesterle said in prepared remarks. "With today's announcement, we've elevated product to be among our top strategic priorities, while improving the alignment of product and technology across the company."

The firm also brought on former Fifth Third Bank executive Debra DeCourcy in October for a newly created vice president of corporate communications position.

The changes announced Tuesday mark the latest executive jumble for the 19-year-old company, which has never turned an annual profit and has been struggling lately to meet analysts' projections.

Shares were trading up 3.3 percent late Wednesday morning to about $6.16. The stock price is down about 60 percent for the year. The stock was trading around $28 per share in summer 2013.

A few years ago, Angie's List branched off from its core business of providing leads on service providers to offering e-commerce options. It started offering deals similar to those of Chicago-based Groupon a few years ago with some success, and it recently unveiled a mobile app.

However, quarterly earnings have repeatedly disappointed Wall Street. The Financial Times reported in September that the company had hired investment bankers to explore the possibility of a sale.

The company has declined to respond to the report, saying it doesn't comment on rumors.
 

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