Turn Taps Brightroll and Google Veteran Bruce Falck as CEO

Ad Tech Operator Seeking Aggressive Growth

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Bruce Falck
Bruce Falck
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Turn has named digital ad vet Bruce Falck its new CEO in a move that hints at a potential growth path for the ad technology company.

Mr. Falck comes from Brightroll, where he served as COO for less than six months before Yahoo acquired the company in November 2014. Prior to joining Brightroll, he spent eight years at Google, where he helped build the company's digital advertising and technology businesses.

"Fundamentally it came down to the fact that he built multiple highly successful multi-billion dollar advertising technology businesses," said Turn Chairman Jim Barnett. "We were looking for a strong leader, a visionary but also someone who demonstrated the ability to lead and manage real scale."

He fills a role that's been vacant since Bill Demas departed in April. At the time, the company indicated that it was looking for a change.

For Turn, that change means aggressive growth, and while an exit is a likely scenario in the future, it's not the only scenario.

"Frankly, we're looking for a leader to take Turn to a multi-billion-dollar revenue business," he said. "As we think about growing our revenue, I wouldn't preclude any alternative, whether it be a financing or an acquisition alternative."

The company raised $80 million early last year, and Mr. Demas in the past had talked about the possibility of an IPO. But as it nears its tenth year, the company remains private.

Mr. Falck knows a thing or two about growing private companies, as well as building within large public companies. He helped facilitate the $640 million Brightroll transaction, which Mr. Barnett called "one of the largest and most successful ad tech exits." At Google, he supported the growth of Invite Media (now it's called DoubleClick Bid Manager) and AdX, as well as Google Display Network.

"I'm passionate about building businesses," he said. "As a guy that's been in ad tech space for the last nine years, I feel lucky to have this opportunity. I'm a big believer that we're in the early stages of fundamental disruption."

He senses opportunity in ad tech, despite waning love for the category on Wall Street, he said. "Machines are going to trade media," he said. "That's a long-term trend. Folks on Wall Street looking at various financial metrics are not seeing that disruption in my humble opinion."

Although "the VCs have cooled a bit," the "Googles, Facebooks, AOL-Verizon's and now the Yahoos and Twitters see the writing on the wall," he added.