XLMedia to reduce headcount in strategic overhaul

11 May 2020

XLMedia has concluded a strategic review that will see the affiliate marketing business "streamline" a number of roles and functions across the business, resulting in annual cost savings of more than $5m (£4.1m/€4.6m).

While the business did not provide any indication on how many roles would be cut - and how many staff let go - as part of this process, it said the restructuring reflected its focus on four short-term investment priorities.

This will see XLMedia enhance its operating model to support future growth, as well as using data and programmatic learning to improve customer experience. It will also look to expand its US sports and personal finance businesses by investing in infrastructure and additional resource, supported by M&A, as well as expanding its existing verticals into new markets.

These priorities in turn will see the business look to use more automation and outsourcing, and increase its editorial output.

This restructuring has already seen Sarah Clark, who joined XLMedia in February as chief transformation officer, appointed chief operational officer. Clark will focus on developing the company's strategy, evolving the shared services model and driving operational efficiencies.

Meanwhile, Xen Lategan will serve as an interim technology consultant, with a remit of supporting the re-platforming of de-ranked websites and overseeing the re-organisation of the technology group.

Some 107 XLMedia sites were demoted in Google’s search rankings in January of this year, with the affiliate group saying that the demotion was done manually.

“I joined XLMedia with the clear intention to orientate the company towards a balanced portfolio of premium branded sites, in verticals and markets that deliver sustainable revenue growth,” chief executive Stuart Simms said of the restructuring.

“To support this transformation, we have been working diligently to augment our leadership team and operating structure, as well as to right-size the resources required for our business to operate most efficiently.”

XLMedia said the changes would result in more than $5.0m in annual savings, but added that the savings in 2020 would be largely offset by investments.

“Our transformation plan continues to gather momentum, and I am pleased to share our progress with all our major stakeholders, alongside welcoming new talent to the business,” Simms said.

The announcement also comes after XLMedia last month reported a 14.8% year-on-year revenue in 2019 to $79.7m, while an $81.4m impairment loss meant the group made an overall net loss for the year.