Yell revamp to bring in 'central captains'

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The Independent Online

Mike Pocock, the chief executive of Yell Group, is to revamp the organisational structure of the publisher of Yellow Pages as part of a strategic review to be announced in July.

He is to create a series of what one source termed "central captains" below main board level. They will largely focus on the digital development of the business, such as online business searches, and could include new heads of IT development and procurement.

The operational structure is run along regional lines, with senior management concentrating on the main UK, US, Latin American and Spanish markets. While there will still be country heads, it looks like they will now have to report to global divisional bosses.

Sources said that this would help Mr Pocock's ambition to focus on Yell's high-growth digital business. For example, a global IT boss could install one internet search function across all geographic areas, rather than regions duplicating each other's efforts.

Such cost savings are vital as the traditional print business is in decline and Yell has a debt burden of nearly £2.8bn. The business has a market capitalisation of barely £160m after more than four years of severe decline.

A source close to Mr Pocock said: "The digital world's a global business and there will be central captains leading the way. He's looking at not so much a regional basis model – the digital world's a global business."

Last week, Yell announced a 12.4 per cent fall in revenue to £1.9bn. Yell shares closed at 6.89p on Friday, down 1 per cent on the start of the day's trading. The price was 37p a year ago.

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