MoPub CEO Leaves Day-to-Day Operations, in Another Executive Shake-Up at Twitter

Jim Payne Will Serve as 'Ad-Tech Advisor' to Twitter CFO Noto

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Yet another executive shuffle is underway at Twitter.

Fourteen months after Twitter acquired MoPub, its founder and CEO, Jim Payne, is leaving day-to-day operations for the mobile-ad exchange. Mr. Payne will serve as an ad-tech adviser to Twitter's CFO, Anthony Noto.

A Twitter spokesman confirmed the changes. Mr. Payne's transition was planned, and he will continue working daily at Twitter, strategically advising Mr. Noto on the ad-tech industry, the spokesman said. (Yesterday, Mr. Noto publicly signaled his interest in buying a company through a mistaken tweet.)

Janae McDonough, a MoPub VP and former mobile platform executive at Google, will step into Mr. Payne's role as strategic director of Exchange, Twitter's mobile-ad business.

A memo attributed to Mr. Payne announced the move to MoPub clients. "We've only scratched the surface of what is possible as part of Twitter, and we are looking forward to making those integrations even more of a reality in the year ahead," Mr. Payne wrote in the memo. "I will be transitioning into an expanded role at Twitter on the corporate development team that I'm excited about: focusing on strategic M+A in the ad tech space." MoPub now has more than 140 ad-buying platforms bidding on inventory through its exchange, he said.

Twitter moved to buy MoPub in September 2013 for $300 million and finalized the acquisition the following month. "It's important to underscore that our commitment to you, the publisher, will not change," Mr. Payne wrote at the time.

The company is widely respected in the ad-tech industry and considered a strong asset for Twitter. Earlier this month, Twitter executives said MoPub now serves 170 billion ad impressions a month. In May, Twitter signed a $230 million deal with Omnicom Media, tying the holding company's programmatic business to MoPub.

Jim Payne, MoPub founder, VP Exchange, Twitter
Jim Payne, MoPub founder, VP Exchange, Twitter

Mr. Payne's move caps a year of executive changes at Twitter. The company reported $320 million in ad revenue last quarter.

The shift belies a growing frustration at MoPub with the frequent executive changes at Twitter, said one executive familiar with the company. The frustration is magnified by a sense that Facebook, through its recent mobile-ad network launch, has surpassed Twitter's ad-technology offering, this person said.

In June, Ali Rowghani, Twitter's COO, departed the company. Chloe Sladden, the head of U.S. media, quickly followed him out the door. Last month, Vivian Schiller, a veteran journalist hired in a high-profile position as "head of news," left too, after less than one year on the job.

Later in October, Twitter made another executive shuffle, demoting its head of product, Daniel Graf -- the second change to that position since its IPO last November. Kevin Weil, who ran Twitter's revenue products, was promoted to a newly designed position that merged the ad and consumer products.

An ad-tech executive familiar with Twitter characterized Mr. Graf's transition as similar to that of Mr. Payne -- a way of gradually stepping out of the company, without sacrificing Twitter shares.

In January, Dom Hofmann, the founder of Vine, the video clipping service Twitter bought in 2012, stepped down from day-to-day operations. His co-founder, Colin Kroll, made a similar announcement in April. Both assumed advisory roles at Twitter.

Contributing: Tim Peterson

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