SuperMedia CEO Scott Klein Resigns Amongst Allegations of Fraud

October 5, 2010

Scott Klein SuperMedia CEO Resigns Amongt Allegations of FraudSuperMedia CEO Scott Klein “resigns” amongst allegations of fraud.

Recently, Verizon was sued by the Idearc bankruptcy trustee.  Questionable actions have led to the resignation of SuperMedia’s CEO Scott Klein. This is not the first time an executive from the company has resigned or been fired for questionable actions and activities. If you are a SuperMedia employee, just think, it can’t get any worse and the end on Scott Klein’s reign of terror on VIS/Idearc/SuperMedia is over.

Who is now in charge?

SuperMedia appoints Peter J. McDonald as interim CEO replacing Scott Klein. Douglas Wheat is chairman of the board. Scott Klein has officially “resigned.”

Hopefully they find someone who has experience in something other than takeovers, buyouts and commodity product sales.

Scott Klein’s absence may lead SuperMedia on a path to becoming “America’s Best Small to Medium-Sized Business Advertising Agency”, yet to do this they must approach the market with a holistic, service oriented, transparent product offering and embrace a subscription opt-in distribution model. My suggestion is to reduce the scope of the directories and take a magazine approach with incentives for advertisers. Incentives, not copied gimmicks such as the SuperGuarantee will give consumers what they want. If the company can incorporate the power of group buying, special offers, and distance themselves from a 12 month product life cycle they will succeed. This has potential to be a great step in the right direction for the company. Let’s see if the micro-management culture continues?

 

So, what about this new interim CEO?

Mr. McDonald has over 35 years’ experience in the yellow pages industry, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer of RH Donnelley Corporation (now known as Dex One Corporation) from October 2004 to September 2008. He has previously held other senior roles in the industry, including Senior Vice President and President of Donnelley Media, President and Chief Executive Officer of SBC Directory Operations (now AT&T Directory Operations), President and Chief Executive Officer of Ameritech Publishing, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dontech Publishing, and General Manager of Donnelley Information Publishing. Mr. McDonald began his career at National Telephone Directories – one of the predecessor companies that are now SuperMedia – where he became Vice President and General Manager. Mr. McDonald has served on a number of boards, including those of RH Donnelly Corporation, CMGI Inc., and the Yellow Pages Publishers Association, where he served as Vice Chairman.

It is obvious that he will soon be working on the planned merger between DexOne and SuperMedia. Cost savings and the fact that the companies business models are so closely aligned, combined with the fact that the companies do not cross compete in most markets means that it is inevitable.

*edit* rumor is as of Nov. 17th Mike Pawlowski and David Bethea, the East and West EVP’s under Klein, are out starting 11/ 30/2010. They are being replaced by Dex people which would indicate that Supermedia management is being eliminated(any surprise?) in preparation for a merger with Dex.

When a monopolies are a goodthing, two crappy companies make one really crappy company… the DexOne/SuperMedia merger is necessary to cut expenses and both companies do not cross compete.

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The Milgram Experiment in Crony CEO Capitalism, the Commonalities Between Enron and SuperMedia

September 11, 2010

Stop the Stock Scam by Crony Executives at SuperMedia and Verizon

In the early 1960’s Stanley Milgram, a scientist, wanted to uncover what kind of common characteristics existed in evil people. So he set up an experiment with an actor playing an experimental subject and a real experimental test subject. The real subject would ask a question to the subject (the actor) and then if the subject got the question wrong the real test subject would shock the actor with an “electric charge”, so long as the scientist, an authority,would reassure the test subject that what he/she was doing was the right thing. The electric charge was not real, the actor would scream out in pain as the test subject would increase intensity. Approx 50% of the test subjects tested would continue the shock treatment on the subject to the point of death.

This experiment is a classic example of what is wrong with evil corporations and crony executive leaderships. Test subjects or loyal sycophants will do anything, as long as they have the encouragement of the superior or authority figure.

For 10 years I was a participant in an industry that had an Enron style corporate culture. Regardless of what happened to clients, shareholders, and employees not in management, executives would continue to demand people stay the course. Executives, like Scott Klein the CEO of SuperMedia, had zero investment in the company. Employees who understand the business were told to “shut-up” and agree, accept, and fulfill the changes the new CEO was making. Regardless whether or not these changes are in the best interest of shareholders, employees, or the future of the organization.

Being a corporate leader requires the utmost ethical conscience, honesty, and fraud prevention and corporate crime policing.  Whistleblowers are to be respected and given a podium to speak from.

When the SEC began investigating Enron, Ken Lay reaffirmed traders and other employees that he and the company were frauded by “Andy” Fastow, yet the companies auditor Arthur Anderson was busy shredding evidence of wrongdoing. Ken Lay the Enron CEO shifted all responsibility to Andy, traders, the Government, and anyone else besides the executive leadership.

Jeffrey Skilling told employees to “invest your 401k” into Enron stock while he committed fraud. Skilling himself moved his money out of the stock. His Milgram Experiment was to keep influencing employees that what they were doing was right. Keep selling. Employees had faith in leadership. Leadership does not “fall on a knife” when corruption is discovered. When Scott Klein from Idearc met with employees, while being aware of his bankruptcy plans for the company, he assured employees and investors that the spin-off debt and stock arrangements were “strong.”

In Dallas, at a Fuller Drive meeting, Scott Klein the new CEO of Idearc Media reassured employees that the company was financially sound and had cash on the balance sheet few companies had. Instead of going into detail about the companies longterm plans, Scott Klein proceeded to pander to employees his “7 keys to success,”” a presentation better suited to High School kids.

Atleast, we now know how Mr. DeKlein likes his cocktails.

During the rise and fall of Enron, employees and investors were scammed for more than 20 billion. Just the same, Verizon scammed investors with Idearc stock, as well as FairPoint Communications and Hawaiian Telecom spin-offs. The fraud committed by Verizon, Idearc Executives, and SuperMedia’s CEO Scott Klein will be uncovered just like Enron in years to come.

I respect those who blow the whistle to protect the innocent. Those who are not in leadership or positions of influence. I respect the honest worker who gets up, turns on the pot of coffee and heads to work to do good. I respect the Good Guys, not those that put on a super cape and claim “Good Guy” status.

It is wrong to tell investors you have challenges with receivables yet turn around and increase the credit limitations to clients. It is wrong to tell investors good news while hiding the bad. This is manipulation and dishonest.

Milgram’s experiment emphasizes that leadership is ultimately responsible for corporate culture.

Leadership doesn’t get the axe. Take a look at the 545 folks who run this country. Do they get fired? They work for us voters, yet we can’t seem to fire them and they just blame the bad decisions on co-workers or subordinates.

It’s time to put your big boy britches on fellas. Grab your whistles, proxy statements and voting cards….. Make a CHANGE. It is in your hands. When people are crying out in pain, will you continue shocking them? Do you want the blood of the innocent on your hands? What will you do? I suggest it is time to grab and axe and start hacking away at the leadership team. Time for them to get fired!

(btw, I wonder why would an executive commit suicide? Enron’s executives did after the Justice Department began inquiring about illegal activities. Thousands of people faced with crimes go to prison or face social scrutiny, so why are white collar criminals so spineless that they become suicidal?)

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Another prediction about yellow pages….

June 7, 2010

If the yellow pages publishers don’t consider migrating from a saturation distribution to an opt-in business model, they will no longer be viable for the future.

Consumer’s hate junk mail. They hate waste. They think recycling is cool. They also don’t like spam, pop-ups, or other annoying things… like DIRECT MAIL!

Opt in and privacy is the thing of the future. Just think about what a fuss folks are making about Facebook privacy policies.

The best business models have always been those that embraced and then succeeded via creating an authoritative subscription base. What do you think made folks loyal to newspapers in the old days? What made folks loyal to yellow pages? Well, if you think about it, yellowpages companies used to have subscribers. Folks that ordered a phone and expected to get a book.

Yellow pages companies are all in agreement that 1 in 9 folks actually WANT to get (or OPT IN TO) getting the residential white pages.

SuperMedia Dallas Gallup Usage Study

Now the funny thing is they are trying to make folks think that people actually see white from yellow or yellow from white. To tell you the truth, they think White Pages is Yellow Pages and vice-versa. They don’t distinguish the difference.

The real problem is that they are no longer having to publish (in the case of SuperMedia and AT&T they are actually doing it aggressively to cut costs) white pages in many areas, but are doing nothing to lower advertising rates for the savings to clients.

Keep cutting costs by shipping jobs overseas while customer service goes to shit, saturating folks with books they don’t want, and lying to Wall Street and shareholders….. while having the audacity to pad your own pockets in the process, and watch a company disappear.

Here is to hoping the magazine industry buys the yellow pages. Maybe some sales jobs might be left, vs automating a system to buy ads online, which is the longterm plan for some ***cough/ SuperMedia /cough*** yellow pages companies.

Video killed the Radio Star…. What killed the Yellow Pages? Opt Out Will Kill The Yellow Pages!

Magazines understand the value of mailing something to a SUBSCRIBER cheaper than paying an illegal immigrant $100.00 per day to deliver. They also understand the concept of creating offers and pricing folks WANT to OPT-IN TO.  I never understood why yellow pages companies list things A-Z or why they create a separate category for COUPONS. Shouldn’t COUPONS be with the ADS? I mean, you don’t have the same room as you do with a website. Seriously….

GET A CLUE! Keep drinking the Kool-Aid. I would love to have a debate with Scott Klein, Bill Brewer, Sherry Taylor or the other folks that I “worked for” at Idearc/SuperMedia, obviously they don’t have a clue what clients and consumers think, nor do any of them care.

I am sure you can afford to buy a clue. Considering that they all can afford to go on corporate incentive trips.

Just a suggestion, there are many folks that know how to fix the problem vs putting lipstick on a pig and hoping to sell before the bacon is spoiled! You don’t need to buy a clue to understand this. Expecting to fix a broken company with people that continue to see everything the same way is essentially the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

Oh, and hey….. “10 Brownie Points” to the first person that can remind me “How many people research online prior to making a purchase?”


Scott Klein will be investigated by the SuperMedia Board of Directors

March 16, 2010

Scott Klein - Yellow Crook

“Çhange in Control” is like saying, when I bail off the sinking ship, I get paid in full. He knows he will be gone. I am willing to bet the farm. This plan didn’t happen overnite folks. Have you seen the SEC filing, all of his cronies get paid while bond holders, retirees, shareholders, and employees get crap.

– 11 year olds get suite parties by Executives on the company dime.
– getting rid of honest and ethical Scott Laver, Klein’s only form of Executive competition and potential resistance. Laver should have been the companies CEO.
– Bill Brewer is a Klein puppet if you ask me. Although his ridiculous optimism stinks of Klein style narcissistic tendencies.

Scott Klein is on the Board of Directors as Chairman and not surprisingly he chairs the SuperMedia Human Resource Committee which determines bonuses and pay, so regardless of how or why he deserved it, he paid himself a bonus folks.

It is a fact that even with these “innovative ideas”, SuperMedia is ranked worse in class by all measurements. Very fitting of a CEO who deserves a self rewarding bonus of 2 million. He is also the highest paid CEO in his class from what I understand.

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A SuperPrediction on the Future of SuperMedia and Dex One – Merger?

March 11, 2010

update on the Merger click below:

SuperMedia merges with Dex One

According to Media Post, for the first time in history digital ad revenues is set to top print in 2010.

The long-predicted tipping point has arrived, with total U.S. digital advertising and marketing revenues set to surpass print revenues in 2010, according to a new study from Outsell, a consulting and research group serving the information industry.

This prediction, based on Outsell’s annual survey of over 1,000 U.S. advertisers and marketers in December 2009, heralds one of the most important symbolic milestones in the history of online advertising.

Altogether, U.S. advertisers and marketers plan to spend $368 billion in 2010, Outsell found — up 1.2% from about $364 billion in 2009. Within the 2010 figure, 32.5% ($119.6 billion) will go to digital, versus 30.3% ($111.5 billion) for print.

Savvy investors might have noticed that SuperMedia is now reporting all revenues lumped together for the companies print and electronic product., something that competitors are not doing. This is believed to be a plan by CEO Scott Klein to cover-up the fact that electronic revenues are not growing as they believed they would and the company no longer has a shining star among the 20%+ year over year declines in total revenues. In my opinion it is a sinking ship destined to end up at the bottom of the sea. Online revenue growth was previously something the company wanted to show off, so now they are only reporting overall revenues to Wall Street investors so they cannot determine that their .com product offering (or lackthereof) is suffering. Do you think they are hiding something? As an insider to both SuperMedia and Local Search Marketing, I can attest that this rumor is most likely true.

All Hands Abandon Ship.......

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My Rant……..The Next Bubble.

February 16, 2010

After reading a new article regarding the internet SEM investments and recent venture capital funding to WebVisible (another $20M), Reach Local (original $55M back in Oct 2007), and Yodle (recently funded with another $38M) I wanted to comment about The Next Bubble. Let’s discuss the what where and why investors are hot for SEM, Search, and what I see is still  groundbreaking opportunity in local search marketing consulting, as Greg Sterling’s blog pointed out here in his blog titled Screenwerk.

The thing about this topic is that it is both political, thoughtful, and very personal to me.

If you look at the success of Google (information from Wiki:) over the “somewhat” recent years-

Google Inc. (NASDAQGOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation that hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, generating profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, with its initial public offering to follow on August 19, 2004. Its headquarters, located in Mountain View, California, is often referred to as the Googleplex, which is derived from the number googolplex. The company’s stated mission from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the company’s unofficial slogan, coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit, was Don’t be evil. It runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, processing over one billion search requests every day and about one petabyte of user-generated data each hour. Even the company’s name, Google, was a play on the large number googol to represent the large amount of information the company set out to organize.

From this house:

Google Started Here

to multi-million dollar complex in Mountain View California:

https://i1.wp.com/www.propertyinvesting.net/cgi-script/csNews/image_upload/default_2edb.googleplex.jpg

GooglePlex

Google is set to become the largest company in America.

Google Stock History

Google stock compared to GE and Exxon

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SuperMedia’s SuperYellowpages.com has real potential with Apple PC Tablet

January 27, 2010

In my opinion, putting a phonebook on the internet only works to save money shipping phonebooks to India’s telemarketers. When Scott Klein announced his initiatives last February to a room filled with 3000 sales consultants ( an effort to pump them full of that good Super Kool-Aid stuff,) I am sure I wasn’t the only one feeling sick to my stomach.

I now see potential in http://www.SuperYellowPages.com when combined with the Apple Tablet….what better way for the company to end dependance on a saturated and fragmented print publishing and delivery business? There are more phone books printed in the U.S. than people and VerizonYP/Idearc/SuperMedia only distributes to larger urban markets vs its predecessor GTE Yellow Pages. Idearc was not the first to create an online version of print. Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages sent CD’s to offices to curb distribution waste. Area-Wide created an online version of its print directories years ago vs focusing on a real IYP offering to compete with SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com, and other IYP/digital directories.

In another 5 years, I am sure other tablets will exist. Almost all consumers will have one and I also predict that we will cease flipping pages of books, newspapers, and magazines in favor of PC Tablets. I also believe Google’s YouTube site and NetFlix will merge as well as a shift away from old antiquated Yellow Pages.

Will folks with tablets visit the SuperYellowPages site? We will soon see…… in the meantime, Klein better get his shit together and plan for what is coming….. so far his SuperGuarantee Gimmick is far from impressive (copied ServiceMagic’s Service Guarantee, which by all accounts was not something consumers took advantage of.)

Will the Apple Tablet be popular? Sure….just like smartphones and mobile web browsers. Will SuperMedia manage to keep up with changing times? It is still to early to tell.

-this was posted from my Android phone via WordPress app. Folks, Pay real close attention to mobile search and the future availability of the internet.