Monster?s Financials Mirror World Conditions, But Leave a Mystery Unsolved

When Monster Worldwide released its year-end financials Thursday it told a story of trouble at home and stunning growth elsewhere, that mirrored world economics. But it also heightened the mystery behind the most recent departure of a key Monster executive.

Steve Pogorzelski resigned abruptly two weeks ago; his departure announced only after he was already gone. That kind of treatment is usually reserved for failed or disgraced executives. But in Pog’s case, as he was known around the New York headquarters, his division at Monster – international careers – delivered the only growth the company saw for most of 2007.

Dissect Monster’s robust 19 percent revenue growth for the 4th quarter of 2007 and you quickly see it came from the 45 percent growth delivered by global sales, the division Pogorzelski headed for two years. Revenue from the U.S. and Canada grew a paltry 3 percent.

The numbers reported by Monster Thursday look like this:

Q4 2007 Q4 2006 Change
North America $173,577 $168,327 3.12%
Global $143,300 $89,933 59.34%
Advertising $37,111 $40,356 -8.04%
Total $353,988 $298,616 18.54%
2007 2006 Change
North America $707,384 $658,051 7.50%
Global $488,038 $306,280 59.34%
Advertising $155,887 $152,345 2.32%
Total $1,351,309 $1,116,676 21.01%

With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder that Chairman and CEO Sal Iannuzzi made a point of telling analysts during a conference call Thursday evening, “The international business remained a solid performer in the quarter and throughout the year and was the main driver to our overall corporate margin expansion. Our plan is to continue to aggressively build on our leading market share in Europe, India and South Korea by investing in product, technology and marketing in these growth markets.”

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Later, Iannuzzi detailed more of the company’s global aspirations: “We’ve seen terrific growth in traffic, seekers, job postings and resumes throughout the year on a quarterly basis in countries like Turkey and Mexico. In 2008, we will continue to further develop smaller markets in Eastern Europe, Poland and the Czech Republic in particular while we consider additional geographic expansion.”

Unsaid was that the show will have to go on without Pog. Indeed the only reference to the 10 year veteran Monster executive came in response, ironically, to an analyst’s question about progress toward reducing churn in the company. Iannuzzi merely mentioned that he had left and went on to note that a number of changes have been made among senior management.

Meanwhile, despite the overall growth in Monster’s revenues, its 36 cents per share earning disappointed Wall Street which had predicted 38 cents. What caused the lower than expected earnings were severance payments to workers laid off since last summer and other costs associated with the reduction in force; payments to lawyers and others working on the investigation into the backdating of stock options and $3.4 million paid in connection with a security breach in August.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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