Most large companies struggle with how to innovate -- something smaller companies more often master. So when a small company grows up it's important to keep its roots in an organizational structure that will allow it to quickly innovate.
Criteo did just that with the appointment of Elie Kanaan to EVP of marketing. He now leads the company's product marketing, marketing and communications initiatives worldwide.
Kanaan, who spent seven years at VMWare as VP of marketing in EMEA, brings to Criteo his knowledge and experience of pioneering virtualization, cloud support and the ability to scale services.
"Clearly the markets are different, but there are many similarities between VMWare and Criteo when it comes to pioneering new technology," he said. "VMWare started nine years ago by bringing server opportunities to the server market and then took their customers through a journey into the cloud computing era."
Criteo will do the same, Kanaan says, with recent acquisitions such as HookLogic, which focuses on onsite search in retail.
"I don't think there's a lack of people thinking about innovation, but it's really about innovating the correct way," said Kanaan, who also spent time at SAP, Mercury and Oracle.
Reporting to Criteo CEO Eric Eichmann, Kanaan said the organizational structure allows him to bring "the voice of the customer right into the product," which means customers will have more input on how products are developed.
"I feel the organizational structure gives marketing a bit more strategic presence in the company," he said. "Not only can we share the company's position with customers, but bring their point of view into the products."
The line to innovation becomes much shorter, he said. The size of the company is no longer important, but rather, the speed at which the company can innovate, he said.
When asked for the best piece of advice he has ever received, Kanaan said "someone told me everyone you meet in your life is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so always be kind. I try to live by this advice. It is not always easy."