Aberdeen Group President Stephen Gold departs

Logo of AberdeenSageCircle has received credible reports that Stephen Gold, President & CMO, has left Aberdeen Group. We have contacted Aberdeen Group’s public relations team for a statement and their official statement is below.

Under then CEO Jamie Bedard, who took over in 2003, Aberdeen had worked to transform what was perceived to be a “white paper for hire” firm into one focused on fact-based research. While Bedard was successful in changing how the company worked, changing the brand perception was still a work in progress. Then in September 2006 Aberdeen was acquired by Harke-Hanks, a direct marketing company. To a certain extent, the acquisition of Aberdeen by Harke-Hanks was a puzzle because it did not seem to offer much in the way of business synergy. Stephen Gold took over as President and Chief Marketing Officer late in 2006 (the CEO position was eliminated). Since the acquisition, Aberdeen has not being able to completely shake its old reputation.

Official Statement from Aberdeen re: Resignation of Stephen Gold

From Tracey Jones, Sr. Director of Marketing Communications

Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company has announced the promotion of Andrew Boyd, currently Chief Research Officer, to President, replacing Stephen Gold who has resigned effective June 5, 2009. Stephen Gold will return to an executive position in the enterprise software space. “We greatly appreciate Stephen’s leadership and the significant contributions he has made to Aberdeen over the years and wish him continued success in the future,” said Spencer Joyner, Executive Vice-President and Corporate Officer, Harte-Hanks. “Aberdeen has never been more solidly positioned as the leading research provider in the market than it is today, thanks to Stephen Gold and his incorporation of cutting edge programs that continue to drive market awareness. Andrew Boyd’s enormous success in leading Aberdeen’s entire research organization and his passion to the continued success of Aberdeen, made him the obvious choice to assume the role of President. With Andrew’s deep industry experience, passion and knowledge of both the technology vendors, solutions providers and end user community, I am confident that he will continue on Aberdeen’s path of growth and success.”

end of official statement

While Aberdeen is a niche player in the industry and the appointment of its new leader will not have the impact of Gene Hall’s appointment as Gartner CEO has had, Harke-Hanks’ move will influence the competitive balance among some of the smaller firms in the market.

Related post: Aberdeen Group experiences analyst layoffs from January 15, 2009.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Ascertain whether any of the analysts you work with are at Aberdeen
  • Determine if any special work is planned or contracted with Aberdeen. If the answer is yes, delay the work until the executive is named
  • If you are moving into contract negotiations, determine if this impacts the services you might buy from the firm

Bottom Line: AR should monitor who Harke-Hanks appoints to the leadership role at Aberdeen because it could affect strategic direction of the firm and analyst retention.

Question: What is your perception of Aberdeen Group?

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2 Responses

  1. Aberdeen’s pay-for-play reputation is an old stain that’s hard to wash out. That’s unfortunate because, in my experience, they’ve mostly turned this around. Other challenges include Harte-Hanks’ ownership of Trillium which is a conflict of interest for some vendors. The real problem at Aberdeen is the revolving door in the research department and, evidently, the executive suite. Some very smart analysts, e.g., Leslie Ament, Russ Klein and a number of others have come and gone. Yet some good ones remain, including Carol Baroudi and Jeff Zabin. As with all firms, it’s incumbent upon AR pros to leverage a firm’s strengths. I’ve used Aberdeen effectively and may do so again. However, they need to establish order in their house first.

    • I can confirm that the old pay-for-play reputation is a difficult one to overcome. I’d say that is true for most “traditional” analyst firms. But Aberdeen is not traditional (anymore) and the changes that have taken place in the firm over the last 6 months are so dramatic, I decided to return. I am excited by what I see and by what Aberdeen’s customers and readers are saying. Moreover, I am not alone in that sentiment. Greg Belkin, one of Aberdeen’s premier analysts covering the Retail industry also elected to return to the firm. We are lucky to have some long-time superstars and some returning market influencers among our ranks.

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