IAC, Ask.com’s parent company, has announced that Jim Lanzone, the CEO of Ask.com, will be replaced immediately by Jim Safka as the new CEO of Ask.com. Safka was previously the CEO of Match.com, IAC’s online dating company, from 2004 to 2007. He will also retain his job at as CEO of Primal Ventures, an investment arm of Internet conglomerate IAC.
Lanzone will leave to work as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Venture Capital firm Redpoint Ventures. He was appointed CEO of Ask on April 24, 2006, to replace Steve Berkowitz, who jumped ship to Microsoft at that time.
I know Jim Lanzone will be sorely missed by the search marketing industry. He has been a friend to many of us and I also am very sad to see him go. This is a personal disappointment to me, way more than when Jeeves left Ask.
Barry Diller, CEO of IAC, said:
Jim Lanzone was the principal executive responsible for Ask.com’s turnaround over the last two years. His passion for innovation and his every day dedication to the business and its people have been everything anyone could ask for. He is a superb executive and leader and I’m hopeful we can be associated in the future.
Why did Diller replace Lanzone with Safka? In his statement, Diller said:
These changes are intended to strengthen and streamline the operating structure at IAC, both leading up to our intended spin-offs, and beyond.