Web hosting provider Online Tech officially announced on Wednesday that founder Yan Ness and partner Mike Klein are now sharing CEO duties.
In a press release announcing the new leadership structure, Online Tech said the co-CEOs are a reflection of the company having “redundant systems for everything their clients need.”
Ness and Klein have worked together for five years, and will split CEO duties as Online Tech expands across the Midwest. Klein will focus on marketing, sales, and relationship building while Ness will be responsible for technology, operations, and management.
While co-CEO arrangements aren’t common in web hosting organizations, there is research to support that the structure works. Most co-CEO partnerships are prompted by a merger or acquisition or a family company and about 15 percent of co-CEO leaderships are co-founders of a company.
“Co-CEOs are ideal in many situations, especially when the executives provide oversight of each other’s actions and have complementary skill sets,” Stephen Ferris, a finance professor and Rogers Chair of Money, Credit and Banking at the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business, said in an interview with ChiefExecutive.net.
Ferris said that his research of co-CEO structures shows that the market reacts positively to the announcement of a dual CEO appointment. The average abnormal announcement return after this type of appointment announcement was 2.58 percent.
“The co-CEO arrangement gives us two different backgrounds and two different sets of experiences to draw on as we continue our rapid growth,” Klein said in a statement.
Klein invested in Online Tech in 2008 and joined the company as president and COO. The co-CEOs have more than tripled the business over the last four years. Prior to Online Tech, Klein served as CEO of two technology organizations, and has expertise in SSAE 16, SOC 2 and SOC 2 standards.
“The CEO role is a pretty lonely job when you have no peer to run things by. There are some problems and some decisions that you can’t discuss with the rest of the team or your board of directors,” Klein said. “The combination of two experienced CEOs gives us an unusual advantage – the ability to bounce ideas off a peer that has the same stake in the outcome. We approach things differently, but each bring something to the table that makes decisions better informed with peer review at the highest level.”
Online Tech recently grew its leadership team with four new executives in the areas of business development, sales, HR and systems support.
Talk back: Have you ever explored a co-CEO structure in your web hosting business? Do you think this co-CEO structure at Online Tech signals strategic growth from the company this year? Let us know in a comment.