Look out Yelp – Qype CEO brings in new guy to take the fight to the enemy

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Local online reviews startup Qype has switched CEOs. Founder/CEO Stephan Uhrenbacher (pictured), who remains Qype’s largest private shareholder, is moving to the board after deciding to bring in Stephen Taylor, a former Yahoo! Europe head honcho. What appears to be clear however, is that this is a not you usual ‘startup-founder-ousted-for-experienced-CEO’ scenario.

Uhrenbacher told me he’s been looking for a new guy for a while after Qype has ramped up its operations and become an increasingly more complex business stretched across multiple markets and facing competition from a number of players. Not least of which is Yelp which launched in London last week. “Were in 9 markets now and have 50 people, and are very close to beak even in Germany so it was time to get the next level of managament,” he told me today. “We didn’t have a formal search for a new CEO.” However, it’s clear that Taylor was introduced to Uhrenbacher by Qype investors, Advent Ventures.

Taylor (pictured right) brings an experienced pedigree to Qype: he has experience in UGC sites, monetisation strategy and pan-european experience as a former CEO of Overture in Europe.

I asked Taylor if acquisition of other startups in the local review field was n the cards, and he said “we can’t rule out acquiring anyone but we’re concentrating on organic growth – acquiring not a lead strategy.”

Uhrenbacher will stay on the board and continue his business angel activity in Europe, though he said he won’t be getting directly involved in any new startups for the foreseeable future.

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