Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jay Verkler Appointed Interim CEO at Findmypast

I received this press release from Findmypast today:



Former CEO of FamilySearch, Jay Verkler, takes over from Annelies van den Belt as interim CEO of Findmypast

London, Tuesday, July 5th 2016

Jay Verkler, former CEO of FamilySearch, has been appointed as interim CEO of Findmypast.  He takes over from Annelies van den Belt who has stepped down after three years.

In a decade as CEO of FamilySearch, Jay pioneered the digital transformation of the world’s largest genealogical organisation. He oversaw the shift from vast paper and microfilm record stores to accessible digital archives. He broadened the audience for family history by developing partnerships with genealogy and technology companies, societies and archives across the world. Since leaving FamilySearch, he has been a consultant on strategy, product and technology for many organisations.  

Welcoming Jay Verkler, Richard Hall, chairman of Findmypast, said:  “I am delighted that Jay is going to head up Findmypast for the next six months. He has the industry knowledge and the entrepreneurial experience to drive the business forward. One of our key markets is the US and Jay has the experience and knowledge to help us to continue to expand Findmypast’s growth in America.”

Jay Verkler said: “I am excited about the opportunity to lead Findmypast. I have worked with the organisation over the years as a partner and advisor and am excited to work with a talented team in a real determination to develop the business. There is great opportunity to build on existing partnerships and to establish new ones across the globe.”


Mr. Verkler currently advises and consults with executive teams in disciplines ranging from consumer services to enterprise information technologies.

Verkler recently completed a decade tenure as President and CEO of FamilySearch International, the genealogical effort of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints. During his time as CEO, Mr. Verkler led the organization’s move to digital and online offerings and developed a more advanced and collaborative genealogy industry and community.

He previously served in executive positions within various Silicon Valley companies including Oracle Corporation, inCommon Inc., TIBCO Software, Vitria Technology, and Sales.com.

Mr. Verkler studied electrical engineering, computer science and chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as Japanese and Asian studies at Harvard University.


This is a really interesting appointment.  While it appears to be a short-term deal, there may be long range effects.  Jay Verkler is visionary and an activist, in my opinion.  It wouldn't surprise me if he started a process at Findmypast that significantly changes their business practices, their technology capabilities, their partnerships, and their staffing.  It may be that this is a "trial" appointment to see how he fits into the current Findmypast UK/US culture that could be followed by a permanent appointment.  

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