New ‘Killer Diller’ Prot�g� Steps Up

Back in his Hollywood days, Barry Diller, the CEO of IAC, had a reputation for spawning so-called “Killer Dillers,” protégés who took after his aggressive business style. The list includes heavyweights like former Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner and Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Diller has promoted another up-and-coming executive with an early track record of success. Jim Safka, former CEO of IAC property, has been named CEO of a new IAC-owned venture that will be based in San Francisco.

The mission of the new, still-unnamed company, will be to identify new business opportunities for IAC, ranging from start-up ventures to existing entities in various stages of development, according to a statement.

Safka told the new company will focus mostly on verticals in which IAC does not currently participate. He mentioned mobile and video specifically.

“I’ll also be focused on new or existing companies where IAC is in the unique position to accelerate their growth in the marketplace,” Safka said.

IAC said Safka earned the promotion transforming “the global Personals business into one of IAC’s fastest-growing and most profitable properties.”

During Safka’s time at, the dating site grew revenue at an annual rate of 25 percent, respectively. According to IAC, is today the worldwide leader in the Personals category with more than 15 million members worldwide in 31 countries.

An investment venture such as the new company to be headed by Safka is well in line with Diller’s long-time strategy for his company’s Internet properties. IAC is an interactive conglomerate operating more than 60 brands and new investments, and acquisitions are frequent.

In March, IAC property Citysearch acquired Insider Pages, a reviews-based local search company located in Redwood City, Calif.

In March 2005, IAC bought for $1.85 billion.

In 2002, Diller sparked his acquisition intentions with a pledge to spend $9 billion over the follow years on the company’s e-commerce roll-up strategy.

Prior to, Safka served as vice president and general manager of e-commerce for AT&T Wireless. Before that, he spent five years at E*Trade.

Replacing Safka as CEO is Thomas Eraght-Moony. He previously served as the company’s COO.

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