Let’s hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for Go Daddy.
When newly installed CEO Warren Adelman abruptly quit and took a back-seat advisory role at the company last week, my gut reaction was that all is not well at Go Daddy.
CEOs of companies with new owners don’t just up and quit eight months into the job unless there are performance problems or substantial disagreements about management style, in my view.
Adelman was replaced on an interim basis by Scott Wagner of Go Daddy’s main investor, the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
The news a couple of days later that KKR had appointed a new exec to oversee Go Daddy in India also caught my attention.
I was half tempted to write a post there and then speculating that Go Daddy was about to shift its flagship customer service operations — currently based in the US — to India.
While that news hasn’t arrived yet, the company has today confirmed that it has opened a call center in Hyderabad.
Today, the new facility appears to be limited to supporting Indian customers, according to a press release:
A team of local agents, who speak local languages, are now providing Go Daddy’s brand of award-winning customer service to Indian customers. Since opening a little more than one month ago, agents have taken more than 10,000 calls, mostly from entrepreneurs and business owners. To date, Go Daddy India now supports more than 120,000 customers.
But for how long will this be true?
Private equity firms exist to buy companies, make them more profitable, and flip them for a return on their investment. That usually means cutting costs in unpopular ways.
With the new owners in charge, I have to wonder if Go Daddy’s excellent US-based call centers — a constant source of bragging rights in the Bob Parsons era — are at risk.
It’s a lot more expensive to hire wage-slaves in Arizona than India.
I expect that decision will come down to whether Go Daddy starts to view its American call centers as a cost center, rather than a profit center, and whether it thinks it can ship the function overseas without sacrificing quality and alienating its US and other English-speaking customers.
Shipping jobs to cheaper climes might look like a no-brainer on paper, but there’s ample opportunity for #fail in this case.
If, of course, it ever happens. This article is pure speculation.