AppNexus CEO Brian O'Kelley To Shift to Advisory Role

AppNexus co-founder and CEO Brian O’Kelley will step down from his role and move to an advisory position within parent company Xandr, AT&T’s newly renamed advertising unit

AppNexus was acquired by telecom giant AT&T in June, in a deal reportedly worth $1.6 billion. At the time, AT&T said that O’Kelley would “continue to lead the AppNexus business and help spearhead the integration process with AT&T.”

The deal has reverberated throughout the advertising business, with AT&T making the company’s platform and technology a centerpiece of its long-term advertising plans. The company hopes to leverage its own first-party data, owned content from WarnerMedia and its own advertising technology and platforms to try and compete with technology giants Google and Facebook.

In a note sent to staff at Xandr, CEO Brian Lesser outlined a number of changes to the company’s leadership structure, as well as what led to O’Kelley’s decision.

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“As Brian and I discussed the best path forward, we made the decision together that he would transition out of the daily operations of AppNexus and move into a strategic advisory role for the foreseeable future,” Lesser wrote. “He will continue to report to me directly.”

Lesser’s memo also said that AppNexus CFO Jonathan Hsu and chief people and legal officer Nithya Das will also shift into advisory roles with the company.

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