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Jonathan Bulkeley departs Scanbuy, former MMA chief Mike Wehrs in

Mobile bar code service provider Scanbuy has tapped Mike Wehrs, former chief of the Mobile Marketing Association, to succeed four-year company veteran Jonathan Bulkeley as interim CEO.

Mr. Wehrs begins his new job today after receiving a call from a senior executive at Scanbuy investor Motorola Ventures to helm the company while it looks for a full-time CEO. Mr. Wehrs will be based out of Scanbuy’s office in midtown New York.

“The mandate was to operate the company as if this was a full-time position, so to take charge and not just babysit,” Mr. Wehrs said.

“The specific areas that I’m focusing on are monetization strategy, partnerships and the technical development,” he said.

Scanbuy is the creator of ScanLife, a bar code reader application compatible with several commonly used 1D and 2D bar codes, including QR, Datamatrix, EZcode, UPC, EAN and ISBN. After scanning the bar codes, ScanLife connects consumers to mobile content such as videos, product details and contact information.

The company claims that ScanLife comes installed and preloaded on more than 25 million handheld devices.
Company clients include Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the United States and other wireless carriers and handset makers in Mexico, Chile, Denmark, Spain and Italy.

Code language
Using Scanbuy’s services, marketers such as American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Nike, Nokia, Metro and Sears can create and manage measurable 2D bar code campaigns run on mobile devices.

Besides Motorola Ventures, Scanbuy’s other investors include Hudson Ventures, Masthead Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners.

Mr. Wehrs claimed that last month Scanbuy resolved more bar codes than it did in all of 2009.

“I think we’re at an inflection point,” Mr. Wehrs said. “People can see what bar codes can do. It’s an incredibly low-cost addition to any program that advertisers are doing.

“[Also], I think there are a number of companies that are doing very visible campaigns using these codes,” he said. “If we start seeing brands doing that kind of thing, then the general awareness increases.”

Mr. Wehrs is no stranger to mobile.

Prior to his year-long stint at the Mobile Marketing Association as CEO, he was chief evangelist and vice president of industry affairs at Nuance Communications and before that, vice president of product management and global marketing for AOL’s Tegic Communications.

Mr. Wehrs also worked at Microsoft Corp. and Samsung Electronics America.

Scanning opportunities
The outgoing CEO of Scanbuy did much to raise the company’s profile in the media, mobile, marketing and investor circles. Mr. Bulkeley is now in talks with the Scanbuy board to determine his final disengagement terms with the company, though he no longer is at the helm.

Mr. Bulkeley is one of the early pioneers in ecommerce, having run a few years ago.
The CEO’s departure was styled in standard corporate speak: “to pursue other interests.”

The goal now is to scale Scanbuy as mobile marketing and commerce adoption takes off.

Indeed, Mr. Wehrs, who is also a director on the board of Scanbuy, may look to make his position at the company permanent.

“I’m certainly a candidate for the full-time position and I, as a member of the board, would be remiss not to go out and get the best possible candidate,” Mr. Wehrs said. “But I think I’m fit for the job.”

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York