Ross Williams Becomes Chairman Of Venntro As Co-founder Steve Pammenter Takes CEO Role


Venntro Media Group has just announced a major change to its leadership team, with former CEO & co-founder Ross Williams taking the position of Chairman of the UK dating provider.

GDI can exclusively reveal that Williams will no longer lead the day-to-day operations of the business, and will be replaced as CEO by co-founder and former COO Steve Pammenter.

The company said Williams will use his new position as Chairman to concentrate on acquisitions, partnerships and securing future investment for the company.

And as Venntro’s new CEO, Pammenter will now focus on the business’ ongoing strategic direction, spearheading its UK and overseas operations.

The change, effective from 1st June 2016, marks the first time the founders have changed roles in the business since founding the company together back in 2003.

Venntro runs over 25,000 niche dating sites through its main revenue-generating platform White Label Dating, which is joined in its dating portfolio by Global Personals,, JustSingles and new mobile dating apps Revealr, Jiko & WooWise.

Earlier this year, the company revealed it had seen record growth, witnessing a 53% increase in the number of new paying subscribers across its portfolio, which it says was driven by a surge in the US.

To find out more about the leadership shakeup, check out our exclusive interview with Williams and newly-appointed CEO Steve Pammenter below:


Ross Williams, Chairman

After maintaining your role as Venntro CEO for 14 years, what has influenced your decision to step down from the role? What are the main reasons for the change, and what new responsibilities will your new position as Chairman involve?

I don’t view this change as stepping down – my new role as Chairman is more about a change in focus for me, allowing me to focus on many external activities while Steve will be focused on growing the business internally.

As an entrepreneur, I have a strong belief that the key to building a successful business is to hire people who are better than you. 

Over the last 14 years, Steve and I have built a successful business with a robust model. Part of how we’ve done that is by filling Venntro with talented, intelligent and driven people. The decision to change the role that I play at Venntro was very much influenced by those people.

The board and our leadership team do a great job at running the business and this change is about empowering them to drive the business forward. I trust that the team can do a great job at running the business – they don’t need me there to support them with the day to day. I’m really proud that we’ve built a team who can do that.

Venntro is a market leader in our field. We provide services to more than 50 million people across the world and we’re maintaining steady growth. However, dating is a much more competitive space than it was 14 years ago. If we want to achieve greater scale and accelerate our growth to the next level, we’re going to need investment to help us do it. We’re also thinking carefully about how acquisitions and strategic partnerships could contribute to this. This isn’t a small undertaking and needs focus.

To allow us to explore this in a deliberate and well thought out way, I will dedicate all of my energy to this and our long term strategic vision, while Steve and the board will take on the day to day running of the business. I remain the majority shareholder in the business and will still be tasked with providing guidance and governance to the board.

I will be available to offer mentorship and advice to members of the Venntro team at every level.

How much will this role differ from your previous one, and how will it change your position on Venntro’s board of directors?

My role as CEO was very hands on. I knew everything that was going on in every section of the business and worked closely with the team to set the direction we were heading in. As Chairman, I’ll be leaving the day to day operations to Steve.

I’ll still look at the numbers, I’ll still meet regularly with the board and will regularly review the overall performance and direction of the business under the board’s leadership.

In what ways will this effect your own relationship with your employees and other members of the leadership team?

We’re known for having a relatively flat and informal structure with a strong open door policy at Venntro. We’ve fostered a culture of honesty and transparency which means that while I won’t be working as closely with the team on operational matters, my metaphorical door will still be open.

I hope that this will help me to have a closer relationship with the other members of the leadership team – I won’t be their line manager, I’ll be someone they can bounce ideas off or come to for advice.

What are you most looking forward to about your change in position within the company, and why?

When you’re running a machine as big and fast moving as Venntro, it can sometimes be difficult to take a step back and get some perspective.

These changes will give me breathing space, time to reflect and time to do what I love – which is getting out of the office, speaking to all of the interesting people who work in the dating industry and thinking about how together, we can drive the industry forward.

What are the advantages of appointing Steve Pammenter as the new CEO, instead of hiring someone from outside of the business?

An easier question to ask would be what are the disadvantages? Steve and I have worked together for more than 14 years now as business partners. Steve knows this business inside out – perhaps even in more granular detail than I do. It made complete sense to appoint him to do this role and I’m looking forward to seeing him progress in this role.

Do you have any other upcoming plans for Venntro which you can tell us about?

Yes, and no. We’re exploring investment opportunities, strategic acquisitions and partnerships.

I’m very excited by some of the initiatives I’ll be working on in the new role. We have big plans and some exciting works in progress. But unfortunately nothing we can tell you about right now – watch this space! 

Steve Pammenter, CEO

What further responsibilities will you take on in your new role as CEO? How much will this position differ from your previous role as COO, and how will it change your position on Venntro’s board of directors?

I’ve always worked very closely across our B2B division. White Label Dating is the engine room of Venntro and a large proportion of my time and focus has always been on driving this division forward. In my role as CEO, I’ll be handing some of my previous responsibilities down to members of the leadership team and will take a holistic view of the whole business – part of that means bringing cohesion to some of our separate divisions.

I’ll also be looking more closely at our USA expansion. We now have a team of three people on the ground in the USA and this remains our largest opportunity for growth. I’ll be looking even more closely at how to boost our performance in this market.

What does this leadership change mean for Venntro as a company?

Venntro is at a very interesting turning point. Those who saw Ross’s presentation at GDI Amsterdam will have heard about the tumultuous time we’ve had over the past few years with credit card processing, deliverability issues and more. However, Venntro has now returned to steady and consistent growth over the last six months and is in a very strong position.

As far as the change in leadership goes, it doesn’t mean that much for the team. Now Ross and I have both graduated into our new roles, we will invest heavily in empowering our leadership team to drive the business forward – it’s the chance for a new generation of leaders to put their ideas into action. Ultimately, this change signals a new chapter of growth, expansion and scale for Venntro.

Do you believe this will have any impact on the relationship Venntro has with its partners, both in the UK and overseas?

I’ve always had a very close focus on our B2B division and the success of our partners has always been a driver for me. I plan to maintain the close relationships with our partners that I’ve built over the last 14 years and anticipate that we’ll now forge even stronger bonds. It’s tough out there for everyone and I want to continue to support and gather a continuous stream of feedback from our partners. We’ll also continue to invest heavily in our fantastic partner management team.

I’d also like to address one question that I know our partners will ask and that’s what Venntro seeking investment means for them. When we talk about investment, this is about working with strategic investors whose expertise and funding will help Venntro further scale and enter new markets. Selling the business is not on the horizon for us at this time.

In what ways will this effect your own relationship with your employees and other members of the leadership team?

As Ross highlighted, we both pride ourselves on having a very open and honest relationship with all members of our team. If anything, I think this change will bring us all even closer – which is essential for us to be able to drive the business forward.

What are you most looking forward to about your change in position within the company, and why?

It doesn’t feel like a massive change in direction for me as Ross and I have always worked very closely together. I am, however, looking forward to watching our leadership team flourish as we empower them to bring their ideas about how to move forward to the table. We’ll also be bringing our commercial and B2B teams closer together which is an exciting step for us.

Do you have any plans to expand your leadership team as a result of the change?

There are currently three people on our board and we have a strong leadership team who work underneath us. We’re certainly not ruling anything out, but we don’t plan to make any changes in the immediate future.

Do you have any other upcoming plans for Venntro which you can tell us about?

We’ll be concentrating heavily on developing our core White Label Dating business. We have a strong product that has served us exceptionally well over the last 14 years. But we all know how quickly the dating market moves. We plan to invest heavily in enhancing and strengthening our core product so that we can stay ahead and maintain our position as the market leaders with high levels of satisfaction for consumers and high conversion rates for partners.

We’ll also be looking at how we can better deliver what our partners need from a White Label Dating product. We are streets ahead of our competitors when it comes to account management and we plan to translate that into our product too.

As part of our work on the core consumer platform, we’ll be conducting in-depth customer research.

With a third of the UK population on our database, we’re really excited about the possibilities this could bring, not only in terms of how people are using our products but also in getting a good picture of how consumer attitudes to dating sit across the market.

2017 is going to be a good year for Venntro. 

Find out more about Venntro here.

Danielle White

Danielle is a Junior Reporter at Global Dating Insights. Originally from Reading, she has studied Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University and has a passion for writing and reporting. She enjoys travelling and likes to spend her free time socialising with friends and attending music events.

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