Video Island appoints former Pepsi supremo

Video Island founder Saul Klein is stepping down as chief executive to be replaced by Simon Calver, the man responsible for launching Pepsi Max in the UK.

Calver, who joins the online DVD rental company at the end of this month, worked for PepsiCo between 1991 and 2000 and was involved with the launch of Pepsi Blue and Pepsi Music, as well as Pepsi Max. He was vice-president of Pepsi-Cola UK and then vice-president for international sales operations based in the US. In 2000 he moved to Dell Computer Corporation as vice-president and manager of its UK and Ireland home and small/ medium business operations.

Since January 2004, Calver has been chief operating officer at international educational software company Riverdeep.

Klein, who will remain with Video Island in a non-executive role, says: “We were looking for someone with consumer and e-commerce experience to take us to the size where we will be competing with Blockbuster and Amazon. There is potential to roll out the Video Island model in other countries.”

Video Island was launched in September 2003 by Saul Klein, and has more than 100,000 subscribers. It operates full-service DVD rental businesses for easyGroup, ITV, MSN and Tesco, as well as its own direct consumer brand, Screenselect.co.uk, which has marketing partnerships with Boots, Dixons and Virgin Megastore.

Online DVD rental already represents 15 per cent of the total rental market and Screen Digest forecasts it will be worth &£388m by 2006.

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