- Former Politico CFO Joyce Liu has taken the top financial seat for digital advertising platform TripleLift, heading up the company’s financial operations as it gears up for its next phase of strategic growth, the company said Tuesday in a press release.
- Liu officially started as the New York-based company’s finance chief on May 17, the company said. She joins the company at a point in its timeline when “new foundations of revenue must be laid in order to keep a business growing higher,” she said in a statement included in the release.
- Liu’s initial primary focus as finance chief will be to work closely with the company’s private equity and management team to “look at top priorities, key investments and innovation initiatives with a fresh new lens,” she said in a statement emailed to CFO Dive. She will also be “dialing up our core strengths and differentiators in native offerings while applying it across all major ad spend categories,” she said.
Liu served as CFO for Politico for four years, and has also held key financial roles for CEB — now part of Gartner — US Foods and Marriott International, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Liu is one of several digital advertising and media veterans who have migrated to TripleLift’s executive team over the past few years. Part of the Vista Equity Partners portfolio — which took a majority stake in the platform in 2021 in a deal valued at $1.4 billion — TripleLift has also plucked talent from companies including Amazon and Yahoo to stack its executive leadership team as it gears up for its next phase of growth.
Ed Dinichert joined the New York-based platform in March as its chief revenue officer, bringing 10 years of experience from his previous tenure at Amazon Ads, where he helped to launch the company’s Ad Tech Sales and Services teams, TripleLift said in a press release.
The company’s chief privacy officer and vice president of legal, James Evans, came to the ad tech platform from Yahoo, where he served as associate general counsel on their global privacy team. Its CEO Dave Clark — who joined the company in October 2022 — is a veteran of digital media companies including Freewheel, a Comcast company, Viacom, and Fuse TV.
Dinichert and Liu join the ad tech company as the digital advertising industry faces challenges from several quarters, including inflation and other economic headwinds.
Facing reduced consumer demand and a pullback in advertising spending, TripleLift was among those that cut staff at the beginning of the year, with Clark writing to staff in a February memo that while the company remains a healthy growth business, “we did not react quickly enough to the changing landscape and build appropriately for this leaner phase.”
A report at the time of the workforce cuts by AdExchanger said the layoffs affected one-fifth of TripleLift’s staff, or more than 100 employees. The company declined to comment on the layoffs beyond Clark’s statement in February.
As well as economic challenges, the digital advertising industry is facing heightened scrutiny as lawmakers sharpen their focus on consumer data privacy and online protections.
Bills such as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, introduced last year by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., aim to offer consumers stronger controls over who can access their personal data, with the goal of providing consumers with “foundational data privacy rights,” for example.
While the bill failed to advance to the full House or Senate floor, the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill in early March, indicating the topic is very much on lawmakers’ minds, especially as it relates to digital advertising.
“Advertising in the digital age has prompted Americans to question how their information is collected, processed and transferred,” the hearing memo reads. While many consumers may appreciate the convenience such advertising brings when it comes to online shopping, for example, “the American people deserve more transparency into the ways in which these targeted advertising practices exploit their data and should be granted more autonomy to decide how they want to participate in the digital advertising ecosystem,” the memo said.
Meanwhile, senators including Mike Lee, R-Utah, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also took aim at the digital advertising industry in March, introducing the “Advertising Middlemen Endangering Rigorous Internet Competition Accountability” or AMERICA Act.
The act would “restore and protect competition in digital advertising” by moving to erase the conflicts of interest that “have allowed the leading platforms in the market to manipulate ad auctions and impose monopoly rents on a broad swath of the American economy,” according to a release.
“Regulators should encourage publishers and advertisers to adopt privacy-respectful solutions like contextual targeting with basic measurement and first-party data solutions,” James Evans, TripleLift’s chief privacy officer said in a statement emailed to CFO Dive. “Setting accepted minimum compliance criteria — with protection against harsh enforcement for minor legal infractions — would assist advertisers and publishers to move past the third-party cookie era.”
Groups such as Internet for Growth have argued that such legislation would hurt small businesses in particular, many of which are dependent on digital advertising to remain competitive in the online commerce world.
“Just as competition in the advertising market is growing, this bill would reverse decades of progress to improve fragmentation and inefficiency,” the group said in a May statement urging Congress to consider the potential impact of the AMERICA Act. “The irony is that a handful of big companies will continue to prosper, but rising costs and complexity will crush small businesses.”