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Ken Magill

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Behind the e-Dialog Management Shakeup

Former e-Dialog chief marketing officer Arthur Sweetser and former chief technology officer Ken Lajoie parted ways with the company because their personalities were more suited to an entrepreneurial startup firm than the type of company e-Dialog has grown to become, according to CEO John Rizzi.

Sweetser and Lajoie left e-Dialog in late October.

According to Rizzi, the partings were mutual.

“Arthur is a great talent. He’s grown a great team here,” said Rizzi. “He’s an entrepreneur through and through. This is a much bigger company now. I’m very excited for him and in some ways envious that he’s out there looking at opportunities and is a hot commodity.

“We’re going through a great transition and growing globally, but Arthur’s DNA is more of the scrappy, thin resources, go out and conquer something new,” Rizzi added.

Sweetser had been with e-Dialog for just short of seven years.

As for Lajoie—who had been with e-Dialog for 10 years—Rizzi said: “Also, very much an entrepreneurial guy. Will solve any problem with any solution he can make up. Hugely client centric. We’re a much bigger company now and again, not the same DNA. It’s just a different world than how Ken likes to operate.”

According to Lajoie, the decision to leave wasn’t quite as mutual as Rizzi paints it, but he agreed that his personality was no longer a fit for e-Dialog.

“John and I were not seeing eye to eye in terms of the next direction that e-Dialog needed to go,” he said. “GSI was trying to influence us in a way that, in my mind, was attacking the culture we’re so proud of at e-Dialog. That wasn’t acceptable to me because I lead with the heart and not with the bottom line. John knew that wasn’t going to go very far with GSI so we decided to part ways.”

GSI Commerce acquired e-Dialog in 2008 for $157 million in cash and stock.

As for his next move, Lajoie said he is considering his options.

“I’m not looking for a job, I’m looking for an opportunity,” he said. “I’ve got lots of friends in the industry and lots of clients that rely on my intellect and strategy. I’m going to keep those relationships alive.”

Rizzi said e-Dialog plans to replace Sweetser and Lajoie with executives more suited to a larger firm.

“That work is well underway,” he said. “This year you’ll see quite a bit of expansion in senior roles.”

An effort to reach Sweetser was unsuccessful.

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