Digg's Founder Kevin Rose Says New CEO, Website Are Both About a Week Away

Digg Inc., the Web service that lets people rate news stories, is about a week away from hiring a new chief executive officer and will soon overhaul its site to make the content more relevant to users, founder Kevin Rose said.

Digg has narrowed the CEO search down to three candidates, Rose said in an interview this week at his office in San Francisco. The new chief will assume control about the time the new site, currently being tested by a limited number of users, is introduced to the public. He declined to name the candidates.

The six-year-old company is struggling to attract visitors as more Web users get online content from social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Digg’s site gets about 25 million visitors a month, down from about 30 million a year ago, Rose said. Facebook Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, has at least 500 million members, while San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. has more than 190 million monthly visitors.

“We have to keep rolling out new features in order to stay fresh,” said Rose, 33, who’s also the co-founder of Internet television startup Revision3. “That’s something we haven’t delivered on.”

Rose, who’s been running the company for the past four months, said the new CEO will be someone with a background in technology and experience managing a business. The previous CEO, Jay Adelson, left in April after five years. Adelson said at the time that Digg had matured beyond the startup phase and that he wanted to incubate younger companies.

‘My News’

Digg lets users vote on news stories and chooses which to display based on their popularity. The new site, which Rose said may be introduced by the end of next week, includes a “My News” tab so users can track what their friends and contacts are reading and recommending.

The company is close to being profitable, with revenue in the tens of millions of dollars, Rose said. Digg has raised about $40 million in venture funding from investors, including Greylock Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Marc Andreessen and Mike Maples.

The company has plenty of cash and needs to see significant growth before considering an initial public offering, Rose said.

“An exit is not on our radar,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Levy in San Francisco at alevy5@bloomberg.net

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