Go Daddy big daddy gone

Adelman legs it, new owners grab the wheel

Warren Adelman has quit as chief executive of market-leading domain names and hosting company Go Daddy after less than eight months on the job.

He's been replaced on an interim basis by Scott Wagner of KKR, one of the venture capital companies that led a buyout of the company, worth a reported $2.2bn, which closed last December.

“As much as I have enjoyed my roles as CEO and formerly as President and Chief Operating Officer, I have reached a juncture in my life when I would like to spend more time with my family," Adelman, who spent almost a decade with the company, said in a statement.

Adelman took over as CEO at the same time as the KKR-led investment closed. He replaced Bob Parsons, Go Daddy's outspoken and often controversial elephant-hunting founder.

He walked straight into controversy. Go Daddy's vocal support for the hugely unpopular Stop Online Piracy Act in the US caused huge public relations problems for the company during his first weeks in the CEO's office, also leading to a modest departure of customers to competing registrars.

The position was quickly reversed, but not before the brand damage had been done. Go Daddy general counsel Christine Jones, believed to have been a key decision-maker in the SOPA scandal, left the company earlier this year.

Adelman had the mixed blessing of not being Parsons, a controversy-magnet whose occasional PR blunders often nevertheless perversely led to market share gains for the company.

The new boss promised a gentler image for the company, more focused on technology and less on large-chested spokesmodels, which has manifested itself somewhat in its latest batch of US television commercials, which complement the eye candy with deliberately un-sexy data centre archetypes.

Adelman will stick around at Go Daddy as a “special adviser for strategy and global policy”, according to a company statement.

Go Daddy had $1.1bn in sales and broke through the 10 million customer mark in 2011, according to the company. ®

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