Plaxo, the Mountain View online contact updating service that has fascinated some users but turned off others because of its privacy implications, today announced a new CEO. Ben Golub, previously the senior vice president of marketing and corporate affairs at VeriSign, gets the position. Here’s the release: Download file

We’ve written about the company’s potential before. Since then, Plaxo has shown significant membership growth — it says it has a user base of nearly five million people. The plan now is to build a more significant business around its network of users. The biggest hint about Plaxo’s likely direction is the first quote in the statement, by Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz, a board member and large investor in Plaxo. He referred to Golub’s “experience in establishing partnerships within the security and online payment sectors,” saying it would “complement Plaxo’s existing team.”

This is also an noteworthy appointment given the commotion that rocked the company over the past year, and which seems to have left Plaxo treading water strategically. Note that the statement declares that Golub is Plaxo’s “first CEO.” We seem to remember that Sean Parker, the company’s co-founder who was pushed out last year, carried that title — though maybe it was only “interim CEO”. In any case, this ends a long, long search for a CEO. Hopefully Golub will help the company realize its full potential. This could be interesting.