Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has lost its associate general counsel, Norman Petty, for a job with dating app operator The Meet Group.
Petty joined the New Hope, Penn., company as general counsel on March 15 after 25 years with Dow, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
“Both companies have a real focus on trust,” Petty said in an interview. “At Dow Jones, it was trust in the news product, whereas with The Meet Group, it’s trusting the environment where people can meet and interact and making sure that it’s a safe place.”
Petty at Dow Jones oversaw the company’s consumer divisions, including the flagship Journal and Barron’s Magazine. He said the type of consumer protection issues he handled at Dow will be important to The Meet Group.
“We have consumer protection issues, privacy is a big thing, and both involve online advertising and the issues that raises,” said Petty, who began his career in private practice as an associate with Morgan Lewis and Reed Smith.
He is now responsible for The Meet Group’s legal and “Trust and Safety” teams.
The Meet Group comprises dating apps including MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, LOVOO, and GROWLr. Its parent company, ParshipMeet Group, operates brands like eharmony and ElitePartner. The company also offers a monetizable live-streaming function across its apps called video Platform-as-a Service, or vPaaS.
“The history of the company is really online dating and social discovery apps, but they have entered into a new line of business with their vPaaS platform,” Petty said. “That’s just really amazing and exciting, and that that’s what hooked me.”
He added that the vPaaS platform could be used in many other industries like sports, entertainment, and even financial websites.
The Meet Group was acquired by equity firm General Atlantic and German media group ProSiebenSat.1 last year for around $500 million. In the company’s most recent quarterly report Aug. 6 before being taken private, it reported net income of over $10.4 million for the second quarter of 2020, up from $2.2 million for the same period in 2019.