June 14, 2012 / 9:06 PM / in 5 years

Demand Media CFO Hilliard steps down

* Hilliard to become special advisor to board of directors

* Mel Tang promoted to CFO

* Demand reaffirms its outlook

By Jennifer Saba

June 14 (Reuters) - Demand Media Inc President and CFO Charles Hilliard is stepping down, the online media company said on Thursday.

Hilliard, who has been with Demand since 2007, wants to spend more time with his family, he said in an interview with Reuters. He will become a special advisor to Demand’s board of directors.

“When I brought Charles in, the idea was for him to get us public and set up an infrastructure that would allow us to become a successful public company and he did a great job with that,” said Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder and CEO of Demand.

Hilliard, 48, said that he arrived at his decision to leave recently.

“It’s a particularly good window,” he said. “I have a great team ... and the business is going in the right direction.”

Demand announced it is promoting Mel Tang, 37, as chief financial officer, effective Aug. 16. Tang is currently the company’s senior vice president, finance and treasurer.

The Santa Monica, California based company relies on freelance writers to provide articles and videos designed to appear at the top of Internet searches that in turn generate advertising revenue. It operates a clutch of websites, including eHow, LiveStrong and Cracked.

It also operates as an Internet domain name wholesaler and bid on a host of top level domain names such as .pub, .democrat and .social this week.

Demand’s business model is being closely watched as a new way to inexpensively produce content, especially in the light of the challenges facing traditional media saddled with costly infrastructure and large staffs.

The company went public in January 2011 and hit some road blocks when Google Inc made changes to the way its search engine produce results in order to weed out low quality content.

Demand responded by cleaning up its archives and putting quality checks in place to tighten up the content it produced from freelancers.

In May, Demand raised its 2012 outlook after it reported better-than-expected first quarter revenue.

The company reaffirmed its second quarter and full year guidance.

Demand shares closed 4 percent higher at $10.32 on Thursday.

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