Millennial Media's Mollie Spilman Bolts For Criteo

Ad Retargeter Criteo Adds a Mobile Minded Chief Revenue Officer

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Criteo has hired Mollie Spilman as its global chief revenue officer, the company announced today.

Mollie Spilman
Mollie Spilman

Ms. Spilman, one of Ad Age's Women To Watch in 2013, comes to Criteo from mobile ad exchange Millennial Media, where she served as exec VP-global sales and operations.

The mobile background will come in handy, as one of Ms. Spilman's main tasks will be growing Criteo's mobile business.

Criteo does not break out mobile vs. desktop revenue, but Ms. Spilman said in an interview that "they're so much further along in mobile than I thought."

As a retargeter, Criteo's business relies on being able to show consumers ads for products they've looked at online, or at least ads for products they are likely to buy based on browsing data. That mission becomes more difficult to execute on mobile devices, where cookies are largely ineffective. Looking to deal with this problem, Criteo acquired a mobile-tracking company in summer 2013 and released a number of mobile products over the past year.

Criteo will also have to deal with the much derided mobile banner ad, which will be the primary mobile ad unit it will work with for the foreseeable future, according to Ms. Spilman. "It's still early days and I think all of that will be sorted out," she said, expressing optimism that dollars will flow in greater volume to the mobile banner in time.

Ms. Spilman's career in advertising spans 15 years, beginning at People Magazine with stops at Discovery Communications, Advertising.com and Yahoo. Her decision to join Criteo, she said, came down to the opportunity. "Criteo is just a bigger company," she said. "I think that there is so much potential for growth."

Criteo recently lost its president, Greg Coleman, to BuzzFeed, where the advertising vet was hired to fill the role vacated by BuzzFeed's former president and COO Jon Steinberg. Though Criteo tapped its own Eric Eichmann to fill Mr. Coleman's role, Ms. Spilman will take on some of his responsibilities, including managing some of the company's top clients and speaking at industry events.

Mr. Coleman played a significant role in Criteo's successful IPO in October 2013, but the stock has since ridden a roller coaster familiar to many public ad-tech companies. After reaching a high over $60 dollars earlier this year, the company's stock is now trading at slightly above $30.

Ms. Spilman blamed some of the stock performance on analysts lumping all ad-tech companies together, but the best companies will eventually rise to the top. "I think it's going to continue to be rocky for a little while longer, so it's just put your head down and deliver time," she said.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Mollie Spilman was CMO of Millennial Media.

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