BuzzFeed Hires Tumblr Exec as Chief Revenue Officer

Lee Brown Will Lead Ad Sales

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Lee Brown
Lee Brown

BuzzFeed has hired Lee Brown, Yahoo's global head of brand partnerships, as its chief revenue officer, the company said Wednesday.

At Yahoo, Mr. Brown led Tumblr's native-ad business. In his new position, he will oversee BuzzFeed's sales organizations, "responsible for driving business globally with new and existing revenue streams," according to a memo from BuzzFeed President Greg Coleman.

BuzzFeed's revenue model is based on selling native ads, which seek to mimic the editorial content surrounding it. Last year, the company generated more than $100 million in revenue. Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, is expected to ring up about that much in revenue in 2015 thanks to its own form of native ads, according to remarks last year from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

The chief revenue officer position at BuzzFeed has been vacant since Andy Wiedlin left the company at the end of last year. Mr. Brown's name had been at the top of the list of possible candidates for the job, according to people familiar with BuzzFeed's search.

Here's Mr. Coleman's full memo:


2015 is off to a great start and we already have some exciting news. We are scaling our business in a big way with the hire of Lee Brown who has accepted the role of Chief Revenue Officer. Lee is a seasoned digital media executive, coming to us from Tumblr where he spearheaded their native advertising offerings as Global Head of Brand Partnerships and previously held leadership roles at Yahoo and Groupon.

Bringing over two decades of sales experience and leadership to BuzzFeed, Lee will be responsible for driving business globally with new and existing revenue streams. He is no stranger to leveraging technology and great storytelling to solve partners' challenges.

Lee is not the only change to the sales organization. I'm thrilled to announce that Jonathan Perelman, VP of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, has been appointed to lead a new strategic sales group that will focus on our booming branded video offering. Joined by Zach Davis and David Spiegel and more to come, this group will be working with the global sales team to bring their expertise in our branded video product to all of BuzzFeed's partners. We've also reorganized the east coast sales into smaller, more nimble groups and elevated some incredible talent: Rebecca Silver, Kenley Bradstreet, Brendan Kelly and Keith Hernandez have been promoted to run new teams with the rest of our sales management.

I'm confident that Lee's deep knowledge of mobile and social as well as his experience building collaborative and professional sales organizations will accelerate our already rapid growth in 2015.

Much more to come about our business team - research, international, creative services and social discovery - and more in depth plans for expansion in 2015.

Please join me in welcoming Lee!


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