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VeriSign CEO quits. But where’s he going?

Kevin Murphy, July 29, 2011, 11:27:55 (UTC), Domain Registries

VeriSign’s CEO and president Mark McLaughlin has quit the company for a CEO position at an undisclosed private company.

The news of his departure, after two years at VeriSign’s helm, came during the company’s second quarter earnings call yesterday.

McLaughlin’s been at VeriSign for over a decade. In his time as CEO, he oversaw a massive restructuring at the company.

VeriSign is now dramatically smaller – 1,000 people compared to 5,000 when he took over – following the sale of assets such as the security business, which Symantec bought.

His resignation is effective on Monday, but he’s told the company he’ll stick around until late August. Founder and chairman Jim Bedzos will become interim CEO while a replacement is found.

But where’s McLaughlin going?

The timing, less that six months before ICANN’s new top-level domains program kicks off, is certainly curious. It would be an unbelievable coup for a new gTLD firm to hire the former boss of .com.

A lot of people are switching companies at the moment, positioning themselves the best to exploit the new gTLD opportunity. (Anybody need a writer? I’m told my prices are very reasonable).

But he could be going anywhere, of course.

On VeriSign’s earnings call yesterday, McLaughlin said he wanted to join a private company and take it public, which made me think he may be leaving the domain business entirely.

McLaughlin is an advisor to Altos Ventures, a venture capital firm with a bunch of startups to its name.

There are not a great many companies in the domain industry – that we know about, at least – that immediately jump out as near-term IPO candidates.

McLaughlin plans to announce his new employer next week.

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Comments (3)

  1. Bret Fausett says:

    “There are not a great many companies in the domain industry – that we know about, at least – that immediately jump out as near-term IPO candidates.”

    GoDaddy?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I guess that can’t be ruled out, but I always got the impression Warren Adelman was pretty much rooted in place there.

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