Home Platforms The DOJ’s Witness List For The Google Antitrust Trial Is A Who’s Who Of Advertising

The DOJ’s Witness List For The Google Antitrust Trial Is A Who’s Who Of Advertising

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Comic: The Showdown (Google vs. DOJ)

There isn’t enough popcorn in the world.

Late last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published the witness list for its upcoming antitrust trial against Google, and it reads like the online advertising industry’s answer to the Social Register.

There are 68 names on the confirmed list. Some of them will testify live, and others will submit their testimonies via deposition.

The bench trial – as in, no jury – will begin on September 9 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with Judge Leonie Brinkema presiding.

Google avoided the uncertainty of a jury trial – which the DOJ had been seeking – by cutting a $2.3 million check to the government last month to satisfy maximum possible damages allegedly suffered by US government agencies overcharged by Google for ad buys.

As a quick refresher, the DOJ is suing Google for (allegedly) monopolizing the digital advertising market by controlling both sides of the ad stack.

And if there’s anybody in the world who knows how that works, it’s the people on the DOJ’s witness list.

You can read it here, but we broke it down for you – including fun facts.

Former Google employees

Jonathan Bellack, Director of Product Management for Publisher Ad Platforms, Google (2008-2018)

  • Bellack joined Google as part of the DoubleClick acquisition in 2008 and spent a decade in the trenches, including working on the unification of Google’s ad server, DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), and AdX, its SSP.

Brad Bender, Director of Product Management, Google (2008-2015); VP of Product, Display and Video Ads (2015-2019) and VP of Product for News, & Search Ecosystems (2019-2022)

  • Bender also joined Google as part of the DoubleClick acquisition, and during his years at Google he was variously responsible for product management across the Google Display Network, Gmail, display, Google Video Partners, AdSense, Google Ad Manager and DV360. (At DoubleClick, Bender’s nickname was the “Kid in the Hall,” because his tiny desk was located in the hallway.)

Sam Cox, Group Product Manager in charge of Google’s Programmatic Exchange Group (2016-2021)

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  • Cox led product management for Authorized Buyers, Exchange Bidding, Open Bidding and AdX. He worked across Google’s third-party advertiser businesses, including the Google Display Network.

Chris LaSala, Managing Director of Publisher Platform Strategy, Google (2018-2022)

  • These days, LaSala is a faculty member at Columbia Business School building a curriculum for digital product management. Before that, he spent nearly two decades at Google, including leading commercial strategy and planning for Google’s publisher ads monetization products.

Eisar Lipkovitz, VP of Engineering for Display and Video Ads, Google (2014-2019)

Bryan Rowley, Head of Global Strategy & Commercialization for Google Ad Manager & Authorized Buyers (2018-2019)

  • Before joining ad blocking provider eyeo in April, Rowley spent more than a decade at Google over two separate stints, with a focus on advertising, programmatic, corporate strategy and publisher sales strategy.

Scott Sheffer, VP of Partnerships (?), Google

Comic: Alphabet Soup

Payam Shodjai, Director, then Senior Director of Product Management for Display & Video Ads, Google (2012-2019)

  • Since late last year, Shodjai has been at Meta as senior director of product management, AI and developer infrastructure.

Scott Spencer, VP of Product Management for Privacy & User Trust, Google (2019-Jan. 2023)

  • Spencer left Google in early 2023 after 15 years. Between 2008 and 2019, he was director of product management responsible for developing the DoubleClick exchange business, including setting the strategic direction, the P&L and contract development.

Rahul Srinivasan, Product Manager for Google Ad Manager (2016-2019)

Current Google employees

Ali Nasiri Amini, VP of Engineering & Data Science, Google/YouTube

  • Nasiri Amini has been with Google since 2009 – more than 15 years – and leads the engineers, statisticians and computer scientists at Google focused on AI, optimization and data science across YouTube and display advertising.

Tim Craycroft, VP & GM, Google Advertising

Duke Dukellis, VP of Product Management, Google

  • These days, Dukellis leads the product management teams for Google Assistant and Google Speech. Before that, he was in charge of product management for Google’s sell-side ad products, including AdMob, Ad Manager, AdSense, Authorized Buyers and Open Bidding.

Jerry Dischler, VP/GM of Ads (2020-early 2024) & VP of Ads Platforms (2005-2020), Google

  • Dischler moved to Google Cloud in February as president of cloud applications. Previously, he led product management and engineering for all of Google’s ad products.

During the DOJ’s recently concluded search antitrust trial against Google, an email surfaced in which Dischler had written that Google has repeatedly raised the price of search ads – which he referred to as “shaking the cushions” – without alerting advertisers in order to hit revenue targets and appease Wall Street.

Jim Giles, VP of Engineering, Google

  • Today, Giles leads engineering for Google’s collaboration products (Drive, Docs, Forms, etc.), but between 2016 and 2019 he led engineering for Google’s publisher ad platforms, including ad serving and machine learning intelligence features. Before that, he was the engineering lead for DoubleClick for Publishers and AdX.

Comic: When Ad Tech Meets Legalese (Google antitrust)Don Harrison, President of Global Partnerships & Corporate Development, Google

  • Between 2005 and 2012, Harrison was Google’s VP and deputy general counsel in charge of managing Google’s global competition, M&A, corporate governance and investments, including Google Ventures.

Sissie Hsiao, VP/GM, Google Assistant & Bard

  • Hsiao has spent nearly two decades at Google, with the majority of her time focused on the ads business until moving to her current role in 2021. She’s served as VP and GM for display, video and app advertising and she’s been in charge of mobile in-app monetization, app install advertising and cross-device.

In a 2019 blog post, “The ad tech industry is crowded and competitive,” Hsiao pointed to Telaria and Rubicon Project (pre-Magnite), The Trade Desk, Index Exchange, MediaMath and OpenX as evidence that Google faces tough competition in the ad tech sector. Okay. 🤷‍♀️

Nirmal Jayaram, Senior Director of Engineering, Google

  • Jayaram has been with Google since 2012 with a focus on ad products across apps, video, display and YouTube.

Woojin Kim, VP of Product Management, YouTube

  • For nearly nine years, between 2008 and 2017, Kim led product management for all of the performance and direct response ad products related to the Google Display Network. He also worked on ads quality, contextual targeting products and audience targeting products.

Nitish Korula, Engineering Director, Google Assistant

George Levitte, Director of Product Management, Google (with a focus on Google Ad Manager)

Max Loubser, Group Product Manager, Google

Neal Mohan, CEO, YouTube

  • Before Mohan had the top job at YouTube, he was SVP of display and video ads at Google between 2008 and 2015.

And here’s a little ad tech time capsule for you: “Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange Is Officially Launched Says VP Neal Mohan” (published on AdExchanger, Sept. 18, 2009)

Aparna Pappu, VP/GM, Google Workspace

  • Between 2009 and 2019, Pappu was alternatively VP of engineering for publisher ads, engineering director for AdX and engineering manager for Google’s publisher display ads platform.

Vlad Sinaniyev, VP of Engineering, Google

  • Sinaniyev heads up engineering for Google’s sell-side products, including GAM, AdX and AdMob.

Jason Spero, VP of Google’s Global Business Organization

  • Over the course of 14 years, Spero has been the global business lead for search, YouTube and display media, global head of performance media and GM and VP of AdMob (both before and after the acquisition by Google in 2009).

Comic: What Else? (Google, Jedi Blue, Project Bernanke)Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships, Google

  • Stewart’s job involves business development for Search, mobile programmatic media, display and video. She’s been at Google for 18 years.

Alok Verma, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Ad Platforms, Google

  • For nearly 10 years, Verma has led business development and partnership strategy for emerging products across all of Google’s ad platforms, from Search and YouTube to DV360 and GAM.

SSPs, exchanges & pub tech

James Avery, CEO & Founder, Kevel

  • Kevel (previously Adzerk) is an API-based platform for building ad tech infrastructure, including custom ad servers. On his LinkedIn page, Avery describes Kevel as being “committed to the vision that every online retailer and publisher should be able to add user-first ad revenue streams and take back the Internet from Google, Amazon and Facebook.”

Tim Cadogan, CEO, OpenX (2008-2020)

The DOJ’s complaint against Google mentions OpenX several times, including a reference to “Project Poirot,” the purpose of which was to, allegedly, divert scale away from rival ad exchanges that used header bidding – like OpenX – by manipulating bids so that AdX could win those transactions more often.

Andrew Casale, CEO & President, Index Exchange

Arnaud Creput, CEO, Equativ (formerly Smart AdServer)

John Gentry, CEO, OpenX

  • While we’re at it, here’s another OpenX-related allegation from the DOJ’s suit: “Rival ad exchanges lost significant transaction volume from Poirot, undercutting efforts to gain scale. Immediately after the launch, OpenX experienced a 30% year-over-year decline in DV360 advertiser spend, and Google internally identified Poirot as the ‘biggest culprit.’ As a result of the loss, OpenX was forced to lay off approximately 100 employees.”

Rajeev Goel, CEO & Co-Founder, PubMatic

  • Since we’re slinging excerpts from the DOJ’s complaint, here’s one more: The estimated impact of Poirot 2.0 on PubMatic – one of “the most vocal proponents of header bidding technology,” as per the complaint – was a 26% dip in DV360 revenue.

Eric Hochberger, CEO & Co-Founder, Mediavine

  • Mediavine runs ad management and provides monetization tech for roughly 10,000 publishers. He’s got the long-tail POV.

Ben John, CTO, AppNexus (2015-2018) & CTO, Xandr (2018-2022)

  • Today, Ben John is VP of engineering for Microsoft AI, but back in the day he was responsible for AppNexus’s platform innovation, engineering and tech operations.

According to the DOJ’s complaint, AppNexus/Xandr would have lost an estimated 31% of DV360 spend as a result of Poirot 2.0, and …

Tom Kershaw, CTO of Magnite (2016-2021)

  • … Magnite (then Rubicon) would lose an estimated 22%.

Brian O’Kelley, CEO & Co-Founder, AppNexus

  • Perhaps here’s a taste of O’Kelley’s testimony to come? In 2019, he testified before Congress that when Google stopped allowing third-party ad tech on YouTube in 2016, it was “a devastating move” for AppNexus and other independent ad tech companies. AppNexus saw growth slow down significantly and had to lay off 100 people that year.

Michael Shaughnessy, COO, Kargo

Comic: "Welcome Aboard!" (Google vs. publishers)Adam Soroca, Chief Product Officer, Magnite

  • Soroca was the founder of nToggle, an early supply-path optimization startup that built tech to help buyers and sellers transact more efficiently and transparency. (Magnite acquired nToggle in 2017.)

DSPs & buy-side tech

Jed Dederick, CRO, The Trade Desk

Todd Parsons, Chief Product Officer, Criteo

Publishers

Ken Blom, Chief Business Officer, BuzzFeed

  • Blom has been with BuzzFeed since 2012, so he knows a thing or two about the vicissitudes of digital media monetization.

Jay Glogovsky, VP of Revenue Operations & Analytics, The New York Times

  • Glogovsky’s résumé is the publisher’s perspective on a plate: seven years at NYT, director of revenue operations at Vice Media before that and optimization and yield management stints at The Weather Company and The Weather Channel.

Jeremy Helfand, VP & Head of Prime Video Advertising, Amazon

  • Helfand joined Amazon earlier this year, but before that he was EVP of advertising and data platforms at Disney and VP and head of ad platforms at Hulu.

Stephanie Layser, Worldwide Head of Publisher Ad Tech Solutions, AWS

  • Layser was VP of data, identity, ad tech products and platforms at News Corp for more than five years before joining Amazon – and there was perhaps not a more vocal Google critic out there. She has some receipts, too.

David Minkin, President & GM, epocrates (a medical app for doctors owned by Athenahealth)

  • Before his current gig, Minkin racked up nearly two decades of publisher monetization and revenue ops experience at Forbes.com, The Atlantic, Atlas Obscura and Dow Jones.

Ryan Pauley, President of Revenue & Growth, Vox Media

  • Vox is one of the few publishers out there that built and still operates its own homegrown SSP (called Concert).

Matthew Wheatland, Chief Digital Officer, DailyMail.com

  • Wheatland has more than decade of experience at the Daily Mail leading revenue operations, publisher monetization efforts and digital strategy.

In April 2021, Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail, became the first news publisher to launch a legal action against Google and its parent Alphabet over their (must say allegedly) anticompetitive behavior in the online advertising market.

Tim Wolfe, SVP of Revenue Operations, Gannett/USA Today Network

Felix Zeng, Head of Programmatic & Emerging Revenues, The Weather Company

  • With a decade spent at the Weather Company, in all its iterations, Zeng has charted along with programmatic’s rise, from packaging inventory to managing yield.

Platforms

Krishan Bhatia, VP of Global Video Advertising, Amazon

  • Before joining Amazon earlier this year, Bhatia spent 13 years at NBCU, most recently as president and chief business officer for global advertising and partnerships.

Brian Boland, more than 11 years at Facebook, including as VP of Advertising Technology (2014-2016) & VP of publisher solutions (2016-2018). He led an unsuccessful battle against Facebook being labeled a closed, walled garden.

Henry Crum, Senior Director of Product Management for Privacy & Data Practices, Meta

  • Between 2016 and 2019, Crum’s focus was on the interaction between policy, regulation and product across Facebook’s ads stack.

Omri Farber, Product Manager, Meta

  • The more you know: Before joining Meta in 2022, Farber spent six years in the Israeli army and then moved to London to study at the Cordon Bleu.

Simon Whitcombe, VP & Head of sales, Global Business Group, Meta

Comic: Happy Birthday, Google (Google turns 25)Agency buyers & advertisers

Bo Bradbury, SVP & Managing Director, GSD&M

  • Bradbury has been with Omnicom-owned GSD&M for nearly 25 years representing for-profit and nonprofit clients, including the US Air Force.

Brian Bumpers, Marketing and Data Analytics Expert, with experience at Zulily, T-Mobile, Microsoft and Expedia

Jay Friedman, CEO, Goodway Group

  • In Friedman’s words from a 2020 AdExchanger column: For Google, “there are no misdeeds, “there are misunderstandings” – at least that’s the line it gives to marketers and publishers. That may have also been its line to the DOJ and state attorneys general, but apparently they didn’t bite.”

Luke Lambert, Chief Innovation Officer, OMD USA

  • Lambert has also been in the weeds at OMD, including as head of programmatic and head of activation.

Joshua Lowcock, President, Quad Media

Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer, GroupM

  • Speaking of overseeing billions of dollars in ad spend, Schiekofer has spent her career leading digital practices at WPP-owned ad agencies.

Academics, researchers and analysts

Rosa Abrantes-Metz, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group

  • Abrantes-Metz has more than two decades of experience specializing in antitrust, securities and financial regulations, including work in consulting, banking and government.

Robin S. Lee, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

  • Lee’s research examines how firms bargain, contract and form supply relationships in imperfectly competitive markets.

Adoria Lim, Managing Principal for the Accounting Practice, The Brattle Group

  • Lim is a CPA who specializes in calculating damages by assessing a plaintiff’s lost profit, earnings and revenue. She helped the DOJ estimate the damages experienced by federal agencies saying they’d been overcharged by Google for online ads bought between 2019 and 2023.

Google – which has filed numerous complaints to exclude the testimony of a number of the DOJ’s experts and other witnesses – also filed one to keep Lim’s testimony out of court. We’ll have to see what happens, but there Lim is on the DOJ’s witness list.

Ravi Ramamoorthi, Professor of Computer Science, UC San Diego

Timothy Simcoe, Professor, Questrom School of Business at Boston University

  • Simcoe’s research covers topics across innovation, technology, intellectual property and corporate strategy.

Gabriel Weintraub, Professor, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

  • Weintraub’s main interests are the study and design of markets, including developing mathematical models to study the optimization of digital platforms and marketplaces.

And that – for now – is all.

🍿 But if you got this far, here’s a question for you: Do you want butter on your popcorn when this who’s who of advertising makes their way to the witness stand? 🍿

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