Did David Kenny's Twitter Feed Give Away His Akamai Move?

Former Publicis Exec May Have Broadcast His Intentions With Foursquare Check-ins

By Published on .

Now that David Kenny has been named president of Akamai Technologies, he'll need to dump @vivaki33 and get a new Twitter handle.

If you're one of the meager 112 followers (as this post goes up) of this feed -- which displays no photo and essentially is a stream of Foursquare check-ins that extensively document his movements -- you'd know not only that Mr. Kenny, a onetime contender to succeed Maurice Levy for the job of Publicis Groupe CEO, spends an inordinate amount of time in airports and at horse shows, but also that he checked into Akamai, likely finalizing the announcement of his new gig as president of the web traffic management company, on July 21 and July 22.

David Kenny
David Kenny Credit: Richard Kalvar/Magnum Photos
(Not beating myself up too much for not figuring out that one though, as he's been on the board there since 2007).

On June 1, the day the news became public of his departure from Publicis Groupe, Mr. Kenny checked in at the Paris offices of the company.

The former Digitas CEO and Vivaki partner was in the running for Mr. Levy's job, but a move to Paris was a prerequisite for moving up within the holding company. While the 48-year-old Mr. Kenny has been a high-profile and well-compensated ad exec -- his 2009 salary was $3.2 million, including bonuses -- his next career move was largely incumbent on not having to uproot his family. They reside in Wellesley, Mass., or "Chez Kenny" as he calls it on Foursquare.

In an internal company e-mail obtained by Ad Age at the time of his departure, Mr. Kenny wrote: "Over the past year, I have discussed the possibility of moving to the next level of responsibility at Publicis Groupe with Maurice Levy and [Supervisory Board Chairwoman] Elisabeth Badinter. I have appreciated their support and vision for our company, and I found the prospects of a broader role personally compelling and exciting. Unfortunately, the next role would also involve a move to Paris, which has become impossible for my family for very personal reasons."

Given that stance, and that Mr. Kenny had said he wasn't interested in working for a rival holding company, it makes sense that a job at Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai is appealing. But it wasn't the only place in the neighborhood Mr. Kenny was considering jumping to, according to industry executives.

Another name we heard as a possible landing place for Mr. Kenny was Boston-based venture capital firm General Catalyst. Indeed, looking back at his Twitter feed, Mr. Kenny on May 19 checked into General Catalyst's offices at 20 University Place in Cambridge, Mass.

Moral of the story? Whether Foursquare is important for marketers or isn't, it's pretty damn useful for reporters. And stalkers.

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