OpenX Cuts Staff, Hours And Executive Pay In Response To Reduced Marketer Spend

OpenX said Tuesday it has laid off, furloughed or cut hours for 15% of its employees. Most of that percentage were layoffs and furloughs, and the number of people whose hours were cut was small, the company said.

OpenX reduced the salaries of its leadership team by 15% to 20%.

CEO John Gentry said he made the cuts because he expects the coronavirus pandemic to cause a long-term reduction in marketer spend. Gentry took on the CEO role in January, when Tim Cadogan left for GoFundMe.

“Unfortunately, we don’t believe that advertising spend will return to the levels we had prior to COVID-19 in 2020 or early 2021,” he said in a company blog post. “As a result, we have made changes to position the company for success and resilience during this downturn, ensuring we can continue to focus on investing in our products for publishers and marketers.”

In addition to layoffs and furloughs, OpenX is realigning its staff to focus along the demand side of its business. Although OpenX sells a publisher-side product, SSPs are staffing up their demand-side teams and cutting deals focused on concentrating buyer spend in their exchange.

An OpenX spokesperson said the company did not eliminate anyone in teams that work directly with brands and agencies, but did reduce its publisher sales teams.

Besides focusing on buy-side deals, OpenX’s recent strategy has involved moving its back-end infrastructure to Google Cloud last year to streamline costs. And a year ago, it started building a Facebook-style buying platform, OpenAudience, focused on identity.

OpenX already had a leaner staff compared to its peers. The company cut 100 employees in December 2018, and following its Tuesday cuts, stands at over 200.

On LinkedIn, where data doesn’t reflect many recent cuts but can paint a picture of long-term growth trends, OpenX’s staff stood (incorrectly) at 337, itself a 35% decline from two years ago. The new numbers suggest a 60% staff decline from two years ago.

In contrast, Rubicon Project’s 2-year staff count on LinkedIn is flat, with 1% growth to 502 employees. Video exchange SpotX grew 13% to 476 employees. PubMatic grew 16% to 563 employees. Index Exchange grew 39% to 465 employees, and TripleLift grew 84% over the past two years to 334 employees. At the time of its acquisition in June 2018, AppNexus employed about 900 employees, making it the largest of the bunch.

Among supply-side vendors cited above, only TripleLift has made coronavirus-related cuts that have been reported. AdExchanger is tracking all of the coronavirus-related industry updates here.

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