Van der Kuyl steps aside after Brightsolid split

Chris van der Kuyl remains as an adviser to DC Thomson. Picture: Julie Bull

Chris van der Kuyl remains as an adviser to DC Thomson. Picture: Julie Bull

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BRIGHTSOLID, the online publishing and technology arm of media group DC Thomson, is to be split into two businesses focusing on the genealogy and cloud computing sectors.

The move will see chief executive Chris van der Kuyl step back from the Dundee-based business after six years at the helm. The founder of games company Vis Entertainment will remain involved with Thomson as a strategic adviser to the board.

Annelies van den Belt, the former head of ITV.com, joins to head Brightsolid Online Publishing (BSOP), while Richard Higgs, director of the cloud computing business, is promoted to chief executive of Brightsolid Online Technology (BSOT).

BSOP owns findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk – two of the largest genealogy businesses in Europe – and last year launched the findmypast brand into the US market. BSOT provides software, infrastructure and other IT services over the internet from its UK-based servers.

During the year to March 2012, the combined business generated revenues of £26.3m, down from £28.4m previously.

Operating losses came in at £2.2m against a previous profit of £1.3m, with the company warning at the time that “investment in new products and features, together with increased marketing expenditure, was likely to continue to impact on profit levels”. However, underlying operating profits remained steady at £5m.

Richard Hall, a director of DC Thomson who will serve as chairman of both BSOP and BSOT, said splitting the two into separate divisions was the “natural next phase” in the growth strategy for the operation.

Van den Belt joins from SUP Media, the international online group founded in Moscow in mid-2006, where she was group chief executive.

Prior to that, she was managing director of ITV Broadband, where she oversaw the launch of ITV.com. She has also worked as digital director at News International, where she was in charge of the Times online site before moving to the Telegraph Media Group as director of new media.

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