August 18th, 2008

Former Googler leaves WebTrends searching for a new CEO, finding Alex Yoder

WebTrendsIt seems like only yesterday—or April—that I was pitching conspiracy theories about Portland-based WebTrends‘ new CEO, Dan Stickel. With Stickel being a former Google employee, I thought I saw the potential for our local Web analytics company—one with a bit of a checkered history—to have a clear path toward acquisition.

But that changed today with the news that Stickel was resigning and that Alex Yoder, a WebTrends veteran, had been appointed CEO:

In naming Yoder as CEO, the board turned to a WebTrends insider with seven years of experience at the company, and who most recently led WebTrends to its most successful quarter in history as its vice president of sales. He also has been one of the key executives leading the company’s long-term strategic planning, and has over 20 years of global business experience.

Sources close to the announcement say that there is a “tremendous amount of excitement” about Yoder ascending to the leadership role. And that the news was incredibly well received throughout the company.

According to Yoder’s WebTrends bio:

Yoder has been responsible for strategic oversight of all WebTrends marketing and sales activities in North America. Alex has built his team around industry and product expertise and has transformed the culture to emphasize customer relationships, providing complete online marketing solutions with world class services.

On a tangential and random “isn’t it a small Portland Web scene?” note, Yoder also graduated from the same tiny college that Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian and I did—Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. So I mean, that’s good, right?

And speaking of Mike, he got the chance to chat with Yoder and share some insight on Yoder’s new gig:

Yoder joined WebTrends in 2000, then left early in 2007 to become vice president of sales at a company called Touch Clarity after becoming disillusioned with WebTrends’ direction.

Yoder rejoined WebTrends in January of this year, feeling that the company’s focus had returned. He said he hopes to bring stability to the Portland company, and said that he expects his history with the company will help him build trust with WebTrends’ employees.

In my opinion, having someone like Yoder, who has been with the company through the thick and thin of the last few years, should prove a positive move for the company. And should—hopefully—help WebTrends continue along its path to recapture the heights of its dotcom-days greatness.

And while it doesn’t necessarily take the whole acquisition conspiracy theory off of the table. It does make things seem a great deal more stable.

Upon hearing of the new change at the helm, I couldn’t help but think of another Oregon company—Nike—who not-so-long-ago had its own share of CEO drama as it rapidly transitioned through an outsider CEO, only to bring Mark Parker, an insider, up to the chief executive office.

The move has been a successful one for Nike. And here’s hoping that it’s equally successful for WebTrends.

Portland-based WebTrends provides web analytics and online marketing solutions to optimize marketing campaigns and customer engagement. WebTrends Marketing Lab delivers the industry’s most recognized analytics, SEM, and visitor intelligence solutions to enable companies to understand their customers, drive customer engagement, and enhance marketing and brand awareness. Thousands of leading global organizations, including General Mills, Microsoft, Reuters and Ticketmaster have chosen WebTrends business solutions and client services expertise to optimize their customers’ online experiences. For more information, visit:

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11 Responses to “Former Googler leaves WebTrends searching for a new CEO, finding Alex Yoder”

  1. Jmartens says:

    Even though Nike had a short lived CEO, I’d say the scenario’s are very, very different. Nike was looking for someone to continue the success and take over for a founder.

    WebTrends is trying to stay alive, find it’s place, and please investors.

  2. Carri Bugbee says:

    Was that one of the shortest CEO stints in Portland tech history? Maybe you should conduct a poll. Could be an amusing list to compile!

    I don’t know anything about what’s happening at WebTrends and wouldn’t dare to speculate, but I will say that when I met Stickel at an industry event, I got that big-city “I’m looking right through you because you’re not important enough for me to talk to” vibe. That doesn’t happen very often in Portland (thank goodness!) because we all know this is a small pond and we’re going to run into each other over and over again. So, maybe it was culture clash? ;-)

  3. Jmartens says:

    P.S. I was just reading that Forbes Magazine thinks Whitman is one of the top schools in the country and #1 in the state of Washington…not a bad place to be from!

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    @JMartens I agree that the business obligations of the respective CEO roles were very different. I think you’re absolutely right.

    Mine take (as usual) was more from an emotional and cultural perspective, where they both seemed to be searching for “someone who knows the company culture to lead the company.”

    In that vein, both of those CEO stories seem incredibly similar.

  5. macorayne says:

    Stickel was brought in to clean house. I don’t think he was ever meant to be long term. He was there to make some hard descision and then to leave to allow another CEO to lead the company in the right direction.

  6. Ray says:

    Macorayne is right in one respect, someone was brought in to clean house. But it was Stickel’s predecessor, Bruce Coleman, who did the cleaning. Coleman is a career “interim CEO” who had done that at other companies prior to WebTrends.
    One of Coleman’s other tasks was to find a permanent CEO – guess Coleman doesn’t get a 100% for this stint…

  7. Jmartens says:

    @Rick Good points, I’d agree.

  8. Kory says:

    Wow, four CEOs in only 10 months!!!
    Let’s see–
    Greg Drew, to October 07
    Bruce Coleman, Oct 07 – March 08
    Dan Stickel, March 08 – August 08
    Alex Yoder, August 08 – TBD

    Not exactly confidence-building for customers. And, how does a guy who only held an executive role (VP Sales) for a few months since being back to the company get elevated to CEO? I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and good at sales management, but that’s a *VERY* different skill set than managing a software company- with all the demands of engineering, client services, finance, HR, etc.

    Good luck to them, but I don’t see a very long future for WebTrends– smells like acquisition bait to me.

  9. Chris says:

    If its acquisition bait, it’s acquisition for a song. What have they got to sell? Products that are first generation web technology and difficult to improve as witnessed by their track record of releases? Unhappy customer base? Yoder may have gone to a good oregon college, but it seems to me that problem ridden webtrends would need more than a sales guy, and those that have met Yoder know that’s what he is — a hard charging sales guy that stops at nothing — apparently Stickel got in his way. Maybe that move was good for Alex, but we’ll see if it was good for webtrends.

  10. jack says:

    He was never vp of sales for touchclarity. he ran a region! not us sales

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