An eHarmony Breakup

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eHarmony is going through a breakup.

No, it's not the kind of breakup that happens after you had one too many cocktails, saw your honey chatting up someone else, and ended up in a messy public argument. This is a breakup of the business variety.

Neil Clark Warren, the 78-year-old man who founded eHarmony 12 years ago (yep, the guy from the commercials), is taking back control of the company after becoming CEO in July. Here's a peek at what's on the menu:

  • Firing 100 employees
  • Cutting the board back from 9 members to 2
  • Bringing back stock from Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures, which invested $110 million in 2004
  • Eliminating the initial public offering which had originally been expected in 2010

Instead, Warren plans to spend the next year expanding eHarmony's portfolio to include services to help people find work, understand themselves, and build relationships to reduce loneliness. eHarmony's future is all about psychology and social science.

Warren's multi-faceted plan for the site begins with re-establishing stability. eHarmony has had a constant stream of CEOs following the resignation of Greg Waldorf, one of the company's founding investors, in January 2011 after 5 years in the role. He was replaced by Greg Steiner, chief operating officer at the time, then Jeremy Verba, who formerly worked with Zynga Inc.

Now that Warren is in the top spot, and he's wasted no time revamping the company. "Building a relationship business is so different from trying to build something with machines or widgets," he said. "To put it in the hands of people that only want to look at it as a source of business success, revenue success doesn't make sense anymore."

He now has seven full-time psychologists on staff and has replaced many of the more business-focused executives with social scientists. eHarmony has also bought back the 30% of the company that was sold to Sequoia and TCV. As he has no plans to sell the company or make it public, Warren says repurchasing the shares was the best way for investors to make money.

Up next, Warren plans to expand the site's reach by targeting more than love-seeking singles. He hopes to draw in new users who are just looking to find friends and intends to launch a job searching site in the first half of 2013. His goal for the new site is to help people understand their strengths, passions, and ideal work environment early on so that they can enjoy a fulfilling profession as soon as possible.

It's early days yet, but Warren is confident he'll succeed. "I think I am more productive and wiser today than I've ever been," he says.

To figure out if this dating site is the right service for you, please read our review of eHarmony.