Rubicon Project’s president Greg Raifman is leaving the company as part of a leadership team restructuring that will see six other executives leave the ad tech company.
In an email to employees, seen by Business Insider, Rubicon Project CEO Frank Addante explained that the reorganization finalized a streamlining process that the company announced on November 2, when it said it was reducing 19% of its total headcount — affecting around 125 people.
Raifman, who has been part of the company’s leadership team since 2013, will remain on Rubicon Project’s board of directors.
A spokesman for the company declined to confirm the names of the other departing members of the senior leadership team or comment any further on the reasons for the restructuring.
Addante said in the email: “Our business is strong and I am confident that this organizational structure will enable the company to be more agile, and allow us to benefit from greater scale and collaboration with our customers. These changes will allow us to better focus our efforts and I’m looking forward to the year ahead. I’ll follow up shortly with more information on the new go-forward leadership structure.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported in January that Rubicon Project had appointed investment bank Morgan Stanley to explore the company’s strategic options, including a potential sale. The news was confirmed by Business Insider sources, although Rubicon Project has declined to comment on the appointment.
The departure of so many senior members of the Rubicon Project leadership team could signal that the company is lining itself up for a sale.
Perhaps coincidentally (or perhaps not), Rubicon Project also recently updated the “leadership team” section of its website to only include its board directors, and removing most members of the day-to-day management team, aside from Raifman and Addante.
The strong rumor currently swirling the ad tech community is that Rubicon Project is in talks to be acquired by a private equity company and taken off the public markets that have been so harsh to ad tech companies. Often, after companies sell to private equity firms, the majority of the senior management team leave the business.
Rubicon Project declined to comment on these rumors.
The company is due to report its fourth-quarter earnings in the next couple of weeks, although it has yet to confirm the exact date of the announcement. Public companies tend to coincide big announcements with their earnings reports. Sources told Business Insider the earnings announcement will come on February 28, although that was not confirmed by the company.
In Rubicon Project’s third quarter, the company reported a 2% increase in revenue to $65.8 million, beating analysts’ expectations of $62.9 million. Earnings-per-share, however, came below analysts’ estimates — at $0.07, versus expectations of $0.09.
The company also lowered its guidance for the fourth quarter, blaming a “challenging” ad market and admitting it had been slow to adopt header bidding, a popular new advertising technology that is boosting revenue for publishers.
The ad tech firm has had a tumultuous few months. In January, Rubicon Project said it was closing down the division it created following its $122 million acquisition of “intent marketing” company Chango in 2015, after its performance did not meet expectations. Separately, Business Insider also confirmed Rubicon Project had shut down a product associated with its 2014 acquisition of ShinyAds, a deal reported to be worth around $5 million.
Rubicon Project has also lost several key executives in the last few months including chief technology officer Neal Richter, SVP of marketplace development Jay Sears, and its senior vice president of global technology partnerships Adam Chandler.
Rubicon Project CEO Frank Addante’s email to employees in full:
For the last 10 years, Rubicon Project has been singularly focused on automating, optimizing and monetizing the advertising market. In that time, we have built a technology platform that includes buyers and sellers of advertising for desktop display, mobile, video, digital out of home, audio, and more. What we have created is a Global Exchange Marketplace – one that allows publishers, application developers and advertisers to benefit from massive scale, increased demand from new markets and the opportunity to reach the more than one billion consumers through the Rubicon Project Exchange.
As an industry leader, we believe in always keeping our eyes firmly focused on what truly matters – our team and our customers. We are focusing on our core business strengths and mission which has resulted in a profitable business, with almost $200 million in cash on hand, and continued market share growth and success of the company for the past 10 years. As part of positioning ourselves for continued success we will be announcing the final step in our restructuring initiative—originally announced on November 2, 2016—which will further streamline operations, facilitate faster decision-making and enable the company to be more agile with innovation.
Today, we are announcing a management restructuring that involves the departure of seven executives from the company, including Greg Raifman who will be transitioning out of his operational role as president, but remaining on the Board of Directors.
Greg has been a vital member of the Rubicon Project leadership team since 2013 and has helped guide us to where we are today. Greg and I have been friends for nearly 20 years, and I look forward to continuing that personal relationship. Please join me in thanking Greg and the other departing executives for their many contributions.
Our business is strong and I am confident that this organizational structure will enable the company to be more agile, and allow us to benefit from greater scale and collaboration with our customers. These changes will allow us to better focus our efforts and I’m looking forward to the year ahead. I’ll follow up shortly with more information on the new go-forward leadership structure.
We remain confident that the strength of our premium technology platform and our Global Exchange Marketplace uniquely position us to win in the market and we expect these strengths to propel our business to stronger long term growth in 2017.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you may have.
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