HELSINKI (Reuters) - Blyk, a pioneer in the mobile-telephone advertising business, said on Tuesday it has appointed its chief commercial officer, Eric Kip, to take over as chief executive, replacing co-founder Pekka Ala-Pietila.
Ala-Pietila -- a former president of cellphone maker Nokia -- will continue as chairman, overseeing Kip, who for years managed large media agencies before joining Blyk in 2009.
Blyk started in 2007 as a telecom operator in Britain, renting network from larger carriers and offering customers free calls in exchange for advertisements.
Two years later, at the height of the financial crisis, it dumped its operator business and focused solely on offering mobile advertising through operators -- Everything Everywhere in Britain, Vodafone in Netherlands and Aircel, a unit of Malaysia's Maxis Communications, in India.
Blyk said on Tuesday it has more than one million clients each in Britain and India.
Ad companies and operators are closely watching companies like Blyk as mobile advertising presents an opportunity for new revenue streams. Advertisers are attracted to the sheer size of the audience -- over 4 billion people globally use cellphones.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Gary Hill)