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Angie's List CEO says near-term expansion not a priority

November 6, 2015

Angie's List Inc. CEO Scott Durchslag said he's holding off on a workforce expansion plan charted by his predecessor, focusing his attention instead on reinvigorating revenue growth at the struggling home-services company.

In October 2014, the reviews and marketplace company announced a $40 million, 1,000-job expansion plan tied to an economic development deal with the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. It pulled the plug on that plan in March in response to the state's passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but CEO Bill Oesterle told IBJ afterward that the company still needed to consolidate its disparate buildings and grow its workforce.

"We have to solve that problem," Oesterle said in a March 31 interview, noting that the company might proceed without government support. "It doesn't have to be solved today, but we're going to have to get to work at solving it."

Durchslag, who succeeded Oesterle in September, told IBJ in a recent interview that an expansion of any sort is not on the immediate horizon.

"It's not a priority for me right now because I'm interested in strengthening the core business and getting the whole business growing again," Durchslag said.

"I intend to be successful doing that, and I look forward to figuring out how we're going to be expanding and growing. ... But it's not the urgent issue burning on my plate right now."

Durchslag's remarks came in an interview about the vision he's laying out for the 20-year-old company, which will be featured in an IBJ story this weekend. The company sells subscriptions to consumers and ads to service providers. Revenue growth has slowed notably recently.

In addition to forgoing a massive workforce expansion, the company said it's shifting some marketing dollars away from TV and toward less expensive, more targeted digital ads. Durchslag said he intends to invest the resources he has in areas including technology to enhance the user experience for both consumers and service providers.

After trading as low as $3.76 in late July, Angie's List shares hovering around $7.50 in recent days. The stock is up 44 percent since Durchslag took the reins Sept. 8.
 

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