Company Update (NYSE:YELP): Yelp Inc Names Lanny Baker as Chief Financial Officer

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses,  announced that Charles “Lanny” Baker will join the company as Chief Financial Officer, effective May 9, 2016. Baker brings a well-rounded executive background to Yelp, having served both sides of the financial aisle as an equities research analyst and as an experienced CFO for both private and public companies, with an expertise in consumer-oriented digital platforms.

“We are excited to have Lanny join Yelp as our new CFO. His expertise and sheer passion for our mission made him the perfect fit,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO of Yelp. “His track record of success across the financial, strategic and operational areas of digital businesses will be an important asset to the company as we continue to rapidly scale our advertising and transaction businesses.”

As a former CFO for two digital companies, ZipRealty and Monster Worldwide, Inc., and sell-side analyst covering internet and e-commerce, direct marketing and publishing industries, Baker has a successful track record of building and measuring corporate finance strategies rooted in long-term growth objectives. Additionally, he has led the infrastructure development processes that helped position those brands to be end-to-end digital platform providers for their consumers.

“It is a privilege to assume this important role at Yelp. The company has a huge market opportunity ahead of it, and I’m looking forward to joining the team at such an exciting time in Yelp’s development,” said Mr. Baker. “As the clear category leader providing insight about local businesses, Yelp’s mission is one that truly inspires me.”

Most recently, Mr. Baker served as Chief Executive Officer and President of ZipRealty, Inc., an online real estate brokerage and technology company (September 2010 – March 2016), during which time ZipRealty was acquired by Realogy Holdings, Inc. (August 2014). Previously, Mr. Baker served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ZipRealty (December 2008 – September 2010), which operates in 22 states and had annual homes sales in excess of $5 billion. Additionally, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Monster Worldwide, Inc. (March 2005 – June 2007) where he led the global finance function. From 1993 to 2005, Mr. Baker held various research positions at Salomon Brothers (subsequently Salomon Smith Barney, and then Citigroup) and was a Managing Director in the Equity Research Department.

Mr. Baker currently serves as a director of XO Group, Inc. (November 2005 – present), a life stage consumer Internet and media company, where he chairs the Audit and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees; and also recently served as director and Chairman of the Audit Committee (2011 – December 2015) of HomeAway, Inc., an online vacation rental company, which was acquired by Expedia, Inc.

Mr. Baker holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College and is a chartered financial analyst. (Original Source)

Shares of Yelp closed yesterday at $20.78, down $0.56 or -2.62%. YELP has a 1-year high of $52.51 and a 1-year low of $14.53. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $20.35 and its 200-day moving average is $23.15.

On the ratings front, Yelp Inc. has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 1, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak maintained a Sell rating on YELP, with a price target of $19, which represents a potential downside of 8.6% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on March 29, Mizuho’s Neil Doshi initiated coverage with a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $20.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Brian Nowak and Neil Doshi have a total average return of 6.7% and 7.7% respectively. Nowak has a success rate of 63.7% and is ranked #437 out of 3812 analysts, while Doshi has a success rate of 55.3% and is ranked #526.

The street is mostly Neutral on YELP stock. Out of 18 analysts who cover the stock, 8 suggest a Hold rating , 7 suggest a Buy and 3 recommend to Sell the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $21.54, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels.

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