Three Founders Are Out At Demand Media

Demand Media

Demand Media is known for churning lots of content through its sites, but today it’s notable for another churn, of the executive kind: three of the people who helped found and build up the company are leaving.

Larry Fitzgibbon, Joe Perez, and Steven Kydd — who had all been founders and EVPs of Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) — are to leave the company. All three had been with the company for seven several years — approximately 5.5 years.

paidContent first learned of the three founders’ departures from an anonymous source; the news was then confirmed by Kristen Moore, VP of corporate communications for Demand. She said that most of their duties will be passing on to Michael Blend, EVP of Media & Marketplace for the company, after a transition period of a couple of weeks.

Demand does not anticipate any strategic changes as a result of their departures, she added.

Fitzgibbon had overseen international operations, Perez was in charge of product and Kydd was EVP of video — a huge portfolio if you look just at those category names.

Kydd’s departure as the head for video comes at a crucial time for Demand, which will be one of YouTube’s partners for its premium-content video effort launching this year.

Fitzgibbon’s responsibilities for international, meanwhile, will be partly overseen by one of his former reports, Stuart Stewart Marlborough, an SVP who is based out of London Santa Monica. He will report to Blend.

Update: there is now an 8-K filed for Fitzgibbon that detailed his departure terms. All three owned equity in the company, but Kydd and Perez had “not enough to trigger the 8-K,” said Moore:

In connection with his resignation, Mr. Fitzgibbon entered into an Executive Separation Agreement and General Release with the Company dated as of January 27, 2012. The Separation Agreement provides that Mr. Fitzgibbon will receive the following benefits in connection with his separation from the Company: (1) accrued but unpaid base salary through the date of separation, (2) his accrued bonus at 100% of target for 2011, in an amount equal to $125,000, (3) twelve (12) months of continued COBRA coverage and expense reimbursement under the Company’s Executive Medical Reimbursement Plan, (4) acceleration of 21,750 of his currently unvested restricted stock units and (5) one year to exercise vested but unexercised stock options outstanding as of the date of separation.

According to Moore the fact that the three departed at the same time was “just coincidence.” The departures, she said, had nothing to do with contracts around the company’s IPO — that lock up, in fact, expired in August last year. She added that the three will “pursue separate opportunities and new business ventures” but did not provide further information.

We’re still looking into the story, and will update it as we learn more about the three executives’ future plans.

Demand Media is due to present its Q4 results on February 16.

Other founders of Demand are remaining with the company. They include CEO Richard Rosenblatt, head of M&A Shawn Colo, and EVP Courtney Montpas.

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