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Ask.com Gets New CEO

Ask.com Gets New CEO

After six years at the helm of search engine Ask.com, Jim Lazone is stepping down to join venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures. Taking over the top Ask.com top spot will be Jim Safka, who currently heads the Primal Ventures, the venture capital arm of Ask.com’s parent company IAC, run by media entrepreneur Barry Diller.

“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,” said Diller, in a statement. “He is a superb executive and leader and I’m hopeful we can be associated in the future.”

Lazone is generally credited with saving the Ask.com search engine from obscurity, in part by ditching the butler mascot “Jeeves” back in 2005, introducing new search features and interface ideas, and engaging in mass-market advertising campaigns to promote the service. However, Ask.com still accounts for a tiny minority of the overall search market: just 4.6 percent in November 2007, according to media metrics firm Comscore. However, Ask.com recently inked a potentially-lucrative advertising deal with Google, and has been appealing to serious Internet users with new privacy-oriented features and data retention policies.

Jim Sakfa served as CEO of online dating service Match.com from 2004 to 2006, and before that held senior management roles at AT&T Wireless and E*trade Financial Corporation.

Ask.com will also get a new president in Scott Garell, who has been CEO of IAC Consumer Applications and Portals, which includes Fun Web Products, Evite, and Pronto.

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