Marc Tellier

Being a print directory in an online world could be a death knell, unless you bite the bullet and reinvent yourself as a mobile, web 2.0-friendly brand, and bring the industry along for the ride. That's exactly what folks credit Marc Tellier with - being a driving force behind gutsy step change. 'We are a 100-year-old startup, focusing on the future,' says Montreal-based Tellier. 'We want people to stop searching and start finding, thus the investment in making our directories ubiquitous. We want users to be able to access our content anywhere, anytime and in any way.'

Being a print directory in an online world could be a death knell, unless you bite the bullet and reinvent yourself as a mobile, web 2.0-friendly brand, and bring the industry along for the ride. That’s exactly what folks credit Marc Tellier with – being a driving force behind gutsy step change. ‘We are a 100-year-old startup, focusing on the future,’ says Montreal-based Tellier. ‘We want people to stop searching and start finding, thus the investment in making our directories ubiquitous. We want users to be able to access our content anywhere, anytime and in any way.’

Tellier began his career at Bell Canada in 1990, and over a decade rapidly climbed his way to the corner office, with a stint as SVP/partnership development and the launch of North America’s first telco high-speed Internet service along the way. He was CEO of Sympatico Lycos before moving in 2001 to Bell ActiMedia, which eventually became the Yellow Pages Group. Under his direction, YPG has become a global leader in the directory industry, with 30 million copies distributed annually.

In 2003, Tellier completed the largest-ever IPO in the income trust sector in Canada, and in 2005 he led the $2.55-billion acquisition of Advertising Directory Solutions Holdings in Western Canada, creating a national platform for directories. He also helped YPG respond to the challenges presented by competing online directories by striking up distribution deals with rival search engines like Google and Yahoo, which value YPG’s local reach, and expanding into alternative channels like the voice-activated 310-YELO, text messaging, mobile.yp.ca and Find Engine.

‘Marc is an insightful marketer with an ability to see an opportunity, rather than the challenges around it,’ says corporate consultant Mark Smyka, of Cossette Communication-Marketing, Bell’s AOR. ‘He’s a business partner who values long-standing relationships, is respected among his peers and is supportive of his people and their decisions.’ Smyka adds that this is no small feat, given that YPG competes for talent with sexier global brands: ‘His ability to surround himself with smart, experienced people and nurture a culture of progressiveness is especially tough, given their 100-year lineage as ‘the phonebook company.”