It’s been a helluva ride over the last few months for Rubicon Project. While the ad-tech firm has been rolling out new products and partnerships, it’s also experienced high-level defections within its executive ranks over the last few months. And in January, a report surfaced that the ad-tech stalwart was exploring a potential sale.
Now word comes today via a Wall Street Journalreport that Rubicon’s president, Greg Raifman, is leaving the company amid a broader restructuring designed to refine the company’s business focus. The report said that six other executives are leaving the company as well, though "it declined to disclose which employees."
Raifman managed Rubicon’s day-to-day business and will remain on Rubicon’s board of directors, according to the report. Raifman shared his departure news in an email to employees yesterday, highlighting the progress that has been made: "As I reflect on my journey at the company and everything that we have accomplished together, I feel heartened that the future still holds very promising times for this team and a very bright future for the company. In the end, it is always what you make of the opportunity that matters most. And for me, these past four years have been extremely rewarding and gratifying, both personally and professionally. I am pleased to have met, worked with and gotten to know so many interesting, quirky and talented people at Rubicon Project and I will always recall so fondly my time spent here."
In the email, Raifman noted that since he joined Rubicon in January 2013, the firm had "more than tripled" the size of its business, generating more than one billion dollars in ad spend annually. He also cited a tech expansion, header bidding, and the mobile exchange that reaches "more than one billion connected devices each month. We did not acquire this capability--we built it," he said of the mobile exchange.
This wave of departures is the latest in a string of ups and downs as the ad-tech sector continues to consolidate. Last November, Rubicon announced layoffs of 125 people. And then there were two high-level departures: Jay Sears, Rubicon’s senior vice president of marketplace development, and Neal Richter, Rubicon’s chief technology officer, both left the company in recent months.
Rubicon Project is reportedly was working with Morgan Stanley to explore its options, including a potential sale.
The Journal reported that Rubicon’s CEO Frank Addante attributed the most recent exits to a “broader restructuring to focus the company on its core ‘ad exchange’ business.” That suggests that Rubicon will refocus on marketing technology to ad sellers and online publishers vs. ad buyers. Rubicon’s programmatic technology enables ad sales in real-time auctions.
Addante told the Journal that working with the sell side of the digital ad market is a less crowded part of the sector and requires a leaner staff and less investment in marketing and support. He also posted an open letter to customers and partners on the Rubicon Project's website. Addante wrote: "This management restructuring is the final step in our restructuring initiative and will enable us to reallocate resources to invest in growing our marketplace, as well as technology and R&D including mobile, video, orders and our consumer initiative."