OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan is leaving after 12 years to become CEO of GoFundMe. OpenX President John Gentry, a seven-year vet at the company, will step into the CEO role.
“I’ve been walking in this direction for a long time,” Cadogan said. “It’s been a quarter of my life.”
He said he told the board he wanted to move on when he began having conversations with GoFundMe in recent months.
He joins a growing group of ad tech expats embracing new industries – among them Brian O’Kelley, the CEO of his former SSP rival AppNexus who started a company applying programmatic principles to commodities trading.
But the only thing GoFundMe has in common with Cadogan’s ad tech background is that it’s a midsize tech company.
“It’s utterly different, and that’s the point,” Cadogan said. “When I say I want to do something different, I mean it.”
Cadogan will remain board chairman of OpenX and a shareholder. “I’m very invested in the success of OpenX. I built it from scratch, and I’m highly motivated to continue to help and provide advice.”
The past year for OpenX has been one of turnaround. In late 2018, the company laid off staff and embarked on a vision to renovate its back-end infrastructure by moving it to the Google Cloud, which it completed in Q3 2019. OpenX also funneled resources into a new front-end, Facebook-style buying and identity solution.
The Open Audience buying program – originally set to be unveiled in Q3 – is now being shopped to both buyers and publishers, Gentry said. Publishers can adopt “oa.js,” a container to house identity solutions such as the DigiTrust ID or the LiveRamp ATS. And buyers can set up PMPs curated with audiences they want to reach.
With parts of OpenX’s identity solution requiring third-party cookies and code on page, Gentry said Google Chrome’s plan to drop third-party cookies will not throw a wrench into any Open Audience machinery.
“We will always need to resolve an ID, as will the entire ecosystem,” Gentry said. “It will all come down to the open web and the ability to solve the ID problem effectively for all publishers outside of the walled gardens.”
Gentry participated in the strategy to transform OpenX, and he’ll continue to execute on those plans in 2020.
The company plans to get more involved in Prebid this year. OpenX will also spend more time focusing on the buy side, a growing trend among exchanges as buyers seek to understand the supply chain end to end and make strategic decisions about supply-path optimization.
“With Open Audience,” Gentry said, “we have more ways we can better serve the marketers and buyers.”