Autobytel Inc. put to rest rumors about a potential sale as it names James Riesenbach president and CEO this week.

The company, which provides online marketing services to dealers and auto makers, also announces it is no longer on the market but will continue to explore possible strategic acquisitions and other partnership opportunities.

Riesenbach, who starts March 20, will replace Rick Post, who remains a member of the board of directors.

Autobytel's new CEO Jim Riesenbach.

Riesenbach was senior vice president of AOL Inc.'s Search and Directional Media Group. He was responsible for its search-based businesses, directories, audio, video and e-commerce, accounting for more than 40 million unique visitors and 500 million searches per month.

He also managed AOL Search's partnership strategy, including its long-term relationship with Google.

The move ends several months of speculation for the Internet firm, which last October announced it had retained the services of Merrill Lynch to explore "potential acquisitions of, or mergers with, complementary businesses, as well as a potential sale of the company."

cbanks@wardsauto.com