Right Media Founder Mike Walrath to Leave Yahoo

Bill Wise Will Continue to Lead Exchange as It Shifts Focus to Premium Inventory

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Mike Walrath
Mike Walrath
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mike Walrath, founder and former CEO of Right Media Exchange, is leaving Yahoo. He joined Yahoo in April 2007 through the acquisition of Right Media and has most recently been working on ad strategy.

Mr. Walrath formed Right Media Exchange in 2003. In October 2006 Yahoo took a 20% ownership stake. It bought the remaining 80% for $680 million the following April.

"Michael Walrath is leaving to pursue the next phase of his career," Yahoo said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to Yahoo, and we wish him success in the next chapter of his career."

Mr. Walrath could not be reached for comment.

Right Media was the first major ad exchange, and its investment and subsequent purchase by Yahoo spurred interest in a sector that today counts many players, from ContextWeb's Adsdaq, which deals in premium, publisher-driven display advertising, to startups such as Rubicon Project and Pubmatic, which are helping publishers manage their inventory among exchanges and networks. In its simplest form, ad exchanges act as intermediary marketplaces between buyers and sellers of ad impressions.

Mr. Walrath was a longtime DoubleClick executive before leaving to launch Right Media, a New York-based startup. Last year he relocated his office from New York to Sunnyvale, Calif., where Yahoo's headquartered, to work more closely with the portal's senior management on ad strategy.

Recently, Right Media Exchange has indicated it will shift its focus toward more premium inventory; it plans to do so by courting more premium publishers and by kicking off the exchange ad networks that simply trade inventory back and forth without offering distinct data or targeting enhancements. Leading that charge is Bill Wise, senior VP-marketplaces at Yahoo.

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