Ask Jeeves loses chief executive

Andrew Hart, chief executive of Ask Jeeves UK, is quitting the Internet search engine to join Diageo as global chief executive of its media company, Translucis.

Hart, a former managing director of Sunday Business and senior vice-president of IDG’s client services for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will take up the role in the New Year.

Hart will be based in the UK and is expected to launch a recruitment drive for marketers for the division.

He will spearhead the global roll-out of “plasma” TV screens made by Translucis, which broadcast ads and promotions in UK pubs and bars.

The screens allow Diageo to measure the effectiveness of ads carried on the network in terms of immediate sales (MW November 16). The system is linked to EPOS points to measure a brand’s on-screen exposure and sales at each venue. Hart will initially focus on securing business partners for Translucis.

UK managing director Chris Copeland will oversee the UK rollout of the system early in the new year.

Diageo stated its intention to develop e-commerce opportunities for its drinks divisions earlier this year. Food brands will not form part of the strategy, as Pillsbury has been merged with US company General Mills and Burger King is being floated.

Hart has been replaced temporarily at Ask Jeeves UK by George Lichter, president of Ask Jeeves International.

Adrian Cox, vice-president of marketing, will take on responsibility for commercial operations, overseeing the sales team.

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