Former Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) chief product officer Blake Irving will take the helm at Go Daddy effective Jan. 7. The private web-hosting company has often been better known for its controversies—former CEO Bob Parsons videotaped himself killing an elephant and the company sponsored Super Bowl ads featuring a scantily-clad Danica Patrick—but the face of the company has been changing in recent months.
Go Daddy was purchased for $2.25 billion by a private investment group that included the likes of Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures in 2011, which will likely take Go Daddy public or sell it for an even higher price. Hiring Irving fits well into either of those plans.
During his tenure at Yahoo, Irving helped develop a unified product vision and strategy—one that grew the company to almost one billion active users. Earlier in his career he spent 15 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles, finishing as corporate vice president of the Windows Live platform. Irving’s experience will play nicely into Go Daddy’s recent focus on offering more enhanced products and services in order to create new revenue streams.
“Blake Irving’s deep technology experience and his history of developing new cutting-edge products and leading large global teams make him an enormously compelling choice to drive Go Daddy to the next level of its domestic and global growth,” said Go Daddy founder and executive chairman Parsons.
Recently, under the leadership of interim CEO Scott Wagner, Go Daddy has expanded its products to support almost 11 million customers, mainly on- and off-shore small businesses. In a company first, Go Daddy also acquired Outright.com, a cloud-based financial management application. Go Daddy has also partnered with DudaMobile to launch a mobile Web site builder which will provide automated integration of Web and mobile sites, both saving businesses time and expanding their customer reach.
“We have good momentum on product and our international growth and having someone with Blake’s talent and character lead the company will only accelerate it,” Wagner said.
Go Daddy was first scheduled to go public in 2006, but the IPO fell through due to poor market conditions. In addition to its highly controversial stories, Go Daddy has weathered bad publicity storms related to major site outages and its support of the “Stop Online Piracy Act”—which cyberspace hated. Irving is excited for the opportunity to continue to lead the “innovative” Go Daddy team into the future.
“Go Daddy is and will continue to be the hub where businesses can come to life, grow and prosper,” Irving said. “We strive to be the global resource that fuels success for countless entrepreneurs and innovators around the world. As a long time Go Daddy customer, I have seen firsthand an organization that is committed to its customers 24 hours a day and seven days a week and yet there still remains much more we can do to enhance the customer experience.”