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Alex Algard and Rob Eleveld
Alex Algard, left, and Rob Eleveld of Whitepages. (Via Whitepages)

Whitepages founder Alex Algard started his website out of his Stanford University dorm 20 years ago. And after running the Seattle-based contact and identity information platform for much of that time, he is stepping aside to make room for Rob Eleveld as the new CEO, the company has announced.

In a conversation with GeekWire, the two executives shared praise for each other’s leadership style and optimism about the future of Whitepages.

“I’m very excited because I think Rob is going to be the better leader, the better CEO for our needs,” Algard said. “He’s a more dynamic leader than me, is smarter and harder working, is more charismatic, and even has more academic degrees. He’s even led a 130-person team on a nuclear submarine as a U.S. Navy Officer and certainly knows how to execute.”

It’s high praise for Eleveld, who was hired in 2013 as vice president of enterprise sales and quickly rose to become general manager of Whitepages Pro, the company’s B2B unit that offers identity verification SaaS products.

“I’ve worked with Rob now for several years and he grew our Whitepages Pro business unit to become our fastest growing business line and helped transform our business away from an advertising revenue-based business to a subscription-based business,” Algard said. “It’s not all that much change really. We have a strong leadership team already, so I think for the company and for the prospects, it’s really business as usual.”

Eleveld has grown Whitepages Pro from just a few customers to more than 2,000 enterprises today, including Wells Fargo, Priceline, Under Armour, Microsoft, Western Union, and American Airlines, according to the company. The other tier of the company’s business is its consumer-oriented Whitepages Premium.

“We’ve built up a lot mutual trust working together, mutual respect and I’m very honored that he trusts me enough to take the helm here,” Eleveld said of his time with Algard. “I’ve been able to learn the business a piece at a time which was extremely valuable.”

Prior to joining Whitepages, Eleveld was CEO of Optify. He also served as CEO of Shiftboard and was the co-founder and CEO of Vykor. He will take over strategy, revenue, sales and infrastructure for the company and will also join the board of directors.

Algard, who previously stepped away as CEO from 2002 to 2006 to be CEO of CarDomain, will remain executive chairman of the board of Whitepages and will continue on as CEO of Hiya.

“I’m just changing my focus on some different things,” Algard said. “But there’s some targeted areas where I think I can add some value based on having been here for a long time and I’ll just focus more selectively on that while letting the leadership team and Rob in particular run the business and grow the business.”

Correction: This story updates a previous line which said Alex Algard acted as CEO of Whitepages for all 20 years.

Kevin Vitale
Kevin Vitale.

VRstudios, the Bellevue, Wash.-based virtual reality technology company, has named Kevin Vitale, formerly executive vice president of international operations, its new president.

Vitale said in a news release that the company is expanding its European infrastructure to bring services closer to a growing base of international customers.

“We are quickly carving out a major presence in Europe in response to the increasing enthusiasm and commitment for our first-to-market VR entertainment solutions,” Vitale said. “Every country has a different approach to doing business. It’s important that we provide the structure and timely support to accommodate these practices and needs.”

Vitale joined VRstudios in May and gave a quick boost to the company’s international presence.

“Much of our international demand is coming from arcades, theme parks and other location-based entertainment companies who are looking for a way to distinguish themselves from home-based experiences,” said Charles Herrick, CEO of VRstudios.

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