Location Ad Firm xAD Snags ESPN Mobile Head Bayle

Michael Bayle, formerly vice president and general manager of ESPN Mobile, has joined mobile location ad platform xAd as senior vice president of strategic partnerships. Bringing on Bayle, who previously has also served as vice president of monetization at Amobee, is a coup for xAd as it looks to bolster its management ranks and establish a global presence.

In that vein, the company also announced hiring Theo Theodorou, formerly head of sales and strategy for Apple iAd in EMEA, as general manager of EMEA, and Yang Cao, as general manager for China. Cao previously co-founded and sold Julu Mobile, a mobile ad company based in China.

In addition to China, xAd’s expansion to the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions covers eight countries, including Germany, France and Australia. The move follows its push last year into India and the U.K. xAd competes with companies such as JiWire, Verve and 4Info in selling location-based mobile ads, but seems to be trying to set itself apart by ramping up internationally.

In today’s announcement, xAd said it plans to take advantage of expected strong ad tech growth in Europe in the next two years, and the emerging mobile ad market in Asia, which counts 350 million mobile users. As new head of EMEA, Theodoru will oversee strategy, planning and local partnerships with brands, agencies and media companies in Europe.

Bayle will focus on building new strategic partnerships with leading ad-tech companies both domestically and internationally for xAd. During his two-and-a-half years at ESPN, Bayle led the cable sports network’s mobile strategy and oversaw a surge in mobile usage there.

ESPN last year saw traffic to its mobile properties outpace that on the desktop, with mobile-only users boosting its total digital audience by 70% to 62 million as of January, according to comScore. The high-profile Bayle gained in the industry at ESPN, and previously as a Yahoo and Microsoft executive, should benefit xAd as it seeks out new business alliances.

The company hasn’t lacked for investors, raising nearly $42 million to date from backers including SoftBank Capital and Siemens Venture Capital. 

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