Former TAN CEO Brian Silver Gets Top Spot For Right Media Exchange In Americas

Right MediaBrian Silver has taken over as the head of Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange in North America.

Silver’s LinkedIn profile says his new title is “VP, Ad Platforms for the Americas at Yahoo!.” And Yahoo! confirms his new role saying, “Brian Silver will be joining Yahoo! as Vice President, Ad Platforms for the Americas, reporting to Yahoo!’s Joel Jones, Vice President, Ad Marketplaces for the Americas.”

Silver had been the CEO at Travel Ad Network (TAN) – now “Travora” – from 2007 until this past September when he assumed the “President” role with TAN’s appointment of a new CEO.

Before Silver’s appointment, former Carol Bartz chief of staff Joel Jones (Sept. 2011 Q&A) had been running the show for RMX N.A. as well as the Yahoo! ad network business. Prior to Jones, Ramsey McGrory ran RMX. McGrory was a member of the original Right Media Exchange executive team and his since moved to data platform company Clearspring.

So, Silver has his work cut out for him at Right Media Exchange as there has been a well-chronicled talent exodus, investment has lagged in the mammoth exchange and, most recently, the exchange’s SSP received what seemed to be a barely passing score from Forrester. Google and Facebook are at the gates, too – if not already driving by.

Those challenges aside, a big strategic one remains…

What will newly-hired CEO Scott Thompson do with Right Media Exchange? He said last week that he needs to get his display “chops” up to speed before he makes any pronouncements. It would seem he will need to make a decision between continued investment to keep up with innovation in display – or sell Right Media.

Could Silver be part of an executive management team being put into place prior to a spin-out of RMX? With his CEO management experience at TAN, VP role at IAC and exec roles at a couple of other companies, Silver would seem a good candidate to continue to lead RMX post-spin-out should such a scenario transpire.

Still, from here, a spin-out appears unimaginable in that Yahoo! spent $680 million on RMX. That’s an awfully big piece of “humble pie.” And, Yahoo! needs an audience buying/selling technology of some sort to manage their non-guaranteed, Yahoo! O&O display ad inventory. Certainly, Yahoo! could also use some new inventory partners for RMX, too, which the new Microsoft/Aol/Yahoo! partnership speaks to. Down the road, all of them might be on Right Media or, more likely, the venture-fueled, real-time ad platform of AppNexus (Microsoft’s key partner) in an effort to compete with Google.

Another potential interesting data point regarding Silver is that he is an ad network guy and should fit well with the interclick (acquired by Yahoo! in November) crew.  interclick will be cherry picking RMX inventory like they always dreamed of pre-acquisition. Silver could be a bridge to making sure that happens.

By John Ebbert

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