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Yell Touts New CEO Claire Miles’ Tech and Transformation Background

Hibu Group has named Claire Miles as the new CEO of Yell, the UK division that recently closed the books on print Yellow Pages in order to become a fully digital enterprise.

Miles is currently Managing Director for the Connected Home at Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. She has been central to the energy company’s transformation efforts, which included launching the Hive collection of smart home devices. Helping an old-line business re-invent itself is a relevant background for the job Miles will assume in October.

Here is how Hibu Group CEO David Sharman summed up Miles’ qualifications: “I am delighted to welcome Claire to Yell. Her wealth of transformation experience, proven leadership, and financial knowledge make her ideally suited to take the business to the next level of performance connecting small and medium-sized businesses with consumers in a digital age.”

She replaces Richard Hanscott, who stepped down as Yell CEO in March. Sharman has been acting as interim CEO during the search for Hanscott’s replacement.

Yell was most recently in the news for its decision to discontinue production of printed Yellow Pages directories, the last of which landed on British doorsteps in January. While this decision was inevitable, it was a bigger deal in Britain where Yellow Pages is an iconic brand than it was in other markets that have abandoned print but where Yellow Pages never loomed as large in the public consciousness.

Miles’ challenge will be to write the next chapter for Yell. The company finished its latest financial year (ending March 31) with total revenues of GBP 201.2 million, down 11.2% over FY2018. In its final year, print accounted for just GBP 11.5 million.

Miles will need to figure out how (or whether) to leverage such a familiar brand in a way that opens rather than limits possibilities for Yell. Legacy yellow companies worldwide are re-inventing themselves as operating systems for SMBs. Will Yell follow this path? And will it need to re-invent itself completely in order to survive?

 

 

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