Founded roughly 175 years ago, Schibsted, an Oslo, Norway-headquartered listed media group has grown to close to 7,000 employees in 30 countries. Every month, more than 200 million people from around the world interact with its services, brands or portfolio companies in some way.
And yet, to a broad audience Schibsted remains relatively unknown even in the European tech scene.
The media giant is setting out to change that, hiring big and fast for its 'Product & Technology' division. Today, that unit employs roughly 150 people across four locations in Europe: Oslo, obviously, but also in Stockholm, Barcelona and London.
Last year Schibsted notably joined forces with Naspers, Telenor and Singapore Press Holdings to further develop its marketplaces - aside from digital media and newspapers, the company specialises in online classifieds - in four key markets: Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Also last year, Schibsted appointed Rian Liebenberg as its group CTO, after a successful career at the likes of Lastminute.com and Google, for which he established a R&D and Product presence in Europe. In late 2014, the media conglomerate also nabbed Adam Kinney, who had been the head of Twitter’s data analytics ops, to head up its data science team.
Today, Schibsted is announcing that Azeem Azhar is joining its crew in London as Director of Product Management. Azhar will work alongside a fast-growing team of data scientists, devops, engineers, UX experts and software developers, in part to revamp the media giant's social media strategy.
That makes sense, because Azhar's latest venture was PeerIndex, a social media monitoring and influence measurement startup that was acquired by Brandwatch late last year. In fact, Azhar has a track record in helping build companies, even though he started his career in the media business (as a journalist and innovation / strategy team member).
Before PeerIndex, he was involved with startups like EVI (acquired by Amazon), Powerset (acquired by Microsoft), Doppler (acquired by Nokia) and AMI Software (acquired by Bertin).
Christian Printzell Halvorsen, Chief Product Officer, Marketplaces at Schibsted, says the companies marketplaces are "becoming increasingly data-driven and social", making Azhar a great fit given his in-depth knowledge and experience on that front.
Azhar (who I personally hope will continue to send his great The Exponential View newsletter) comments: “I am thrilled to be joining Schibsted. Marketplaces are going to form the basis of consumer experiences across many verticals over the coming years. Schibsted has an enviable global footprint from which to launch exceptional marketplace experiences for consumers around the world."
Time to keep an even closer eye on Schibsted.