Andy Ellenthal is leaving as CEO of quadrantONE, the national online newspaper ad alliance, paidContent has learned. Ellenthal, who was traveling, couldn’t be reached for comment and quadrantONE spokesman Drew Kerr would not comment on Ellenthal’s job status. Asked about rumors circulating that the company was in turmoil and was being disbanded plus persistent claims that Ellenthal is exiting, Kerr insisted quadrantONE is on solid ground and was in no danger of being shuttered. Kerr added that the company continues to have the full support of its backers, The Tribune Co., Gannett (NYSE: GCI), Hearst and the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT)
As for Ellenthal, multiple sources tell paidContent that he has been offered and is considering the CEO job at semantic ad specialist Peer39, which raised a $10.5 million third round nearly a year ago. Peer39 representatives did not respond to messages seeking comment. One source close to Peer39 told paidContent that he wasn’t aware of any changes at the top of the company, but added that he hadn’t heard much from CEO and founder Amiad Solomon for the past few weeks.
Sources inside quadrantONE say Ellenthal’s successor is “already in the wings” and that the company “will not miss a beat in terms of its leadership.”
When pressed for details about the state of quadrantONE’s business, Kerr offered data points from the past year and said revenue — no specific amount — is expected to double this year.
— 130 new advertisers in 2009
— 230 new campaigns in 2009
— 500 percent revenue growth from 2008 to 2009
— 90 percent of first quarter biz was from repeat clients
— 80 percent of Q1’s business was drawn from over 20 DMA’s
The company was formed as a joint venture among the four major newspaper publishers in early 2008. Unlike the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium, which focuses on local ads and jobs, quadrantONE was seen as a way to take that model national. It was originally headed by Tribune exec Dana Hayes on an interim basis, until Ellenthal was brought in as CEO from his role as SVP at Visible World, a tech company specializing in managing TV ads. An early DoubleClick exec, Ellenthal was an SVP at PointRoll before it was bought by Gannett. Coincidentally, the word of Ellenthal’s departure came the same day another former PointRoll exec, Gannett digital chief Chris Saridakis, announced that he would be leaving his current job to pursue other interests.