Xandr Reorganizes Senior Execs to Create Single Voice

AT&T’s Xandr ad unit reorganized its senior management following the departure of several top executives.

Leaving Xandr are Xandr’s president, Rick Welday, who had been in charge of ad sales for DirecTV, and two execs from AppNexus, the tech firms acquired by Xandr last year, Ryan Christensen and Michael Rubenstein.

“In our next phase of growth, it’s important to align all of our go-to-market, product, and operational functions under a unified leadership structure,” said Xandr CEO Brian Lesser in a memo to staff. “This is a change from our orientation as Xandr Data, Xandr Media, and Xandr Platform. This functional structure will help us to innovate faster and have a single voice in the marketplace.”

Xandr is expected to take a bigger role in selling advertising inventory created by the Turner cable networks that are now part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia division.

Several current Xandr executives have new roles in the new management structure.

Seven executives will report to Lesser: they are:

  • CFO Ray Carpenter, who add oversight of Xandr’s offices out side the U.S.
  • Chief legal officer Lori Fink
  • Chief human resources officer Michele Golden, who joined Xandr from AT&T WarnerMedia unit in August.
  • Ben John, chief technology officer, who will also oversee Xandr’s data capabilities, overseen by Tim Barns.
  • Amy Leifer, executive VP, operations and services, whose role has been expanded to oversee and lead all U.S. sales operations for media and platform and the U.S. employees from the company’s global services team.
  • Kirk McDonald, who had been in charge of marketing and communications, becomes chief business officer. Jason Brown, who was named chief revenue officer, reports to McDonald.
  • Mike Welch, executive VP, product and business development, will now lead all product functions, with Suzanne O”Kelley and Steve Truxal, who are in charge of platform products, Christina Beaumier, who runs the TV platform and Matt Van Houton, who run media products, all reporting to Welch. Van Houton also continues to run business development.

Reporting to Carpenter, will be Jerome Underhill, senior VP, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and Lauren Wetzel, who had been chief of staff and becomes VP, strategy and corporate development.

In his memo, Lesser said that Welday will be moving to a “new critical role within the AT&T family that will be announced shortly.” Lesser said he and Welday had been discussing Welday’s next career move for the last couple of months.

Lesser also praised Christensen for being “essential in building our foundational advertising platform products” and said he was “thankful and proud” of Rubenstein’s contributions at AppNexus and Xandr.

Rubenstein had previously announced his departure internally. “Since completing our sale over a year ago, I’ve worked tirelessly alongside Lesser and the rest of our leadership team to integrate AppNexus within Xandr and set the foundation for our collective future success,” Rubenstein said in a memo on Sept. 12. “I'm writing today to let you know that after a decade, and with the integration meaningfully complete, I feel it’s the right time for me to leave the company in your capable hands and begin my next journey.”

Lesser last week presided over Xandr's second annual Relevance Conference, hosting key executives from the advanced advertising landscape.

 “I appreciate your ongoing support and commitment to our future. Each of you play a unique role in how effectively we execute on our business goals and principles. I’m counting on this team to finish 2019 strong and prepare to accelerate in 2020,” Lesser said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.