Undertone, the New York City-based ad tech company that was acquired for $180 million by Israeli marketing software firm Perion in December, has made a big new hire from Apple.
Michael Pallad, formerly Apple Music’s director of sales, joins Undertone as the company’s chief revenue officer. He also previously held sales management roles at iAd, Apple’s advertising business.
Expect to see lots more announcements about former Apple ad sales execs landing new roles in the coming months. In January, Apple moved to pull direct sales support for iAd, transforming it into a fully self-serve platform and removing the need for a large human salesforce.
Speaking to Business Insider, Pallad said: “It makes complete sense to be that [Apple is] going to follow the Apple policy to a tee and that created, perhaps, some challenges in the traditional iAd initiative. So I think wherever they evolve, it will evolve into a place that follows their key stance on privacy and data, which makes complete sense.”
Last summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a potshot at ad-driven companies like Google and Facebook (without naming them,) which he said are “gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.” His speech suggested iAd was incongruous with the company’s core business.
Regarding Apple Music, Pallad said: “It’s obviously a great product but that product has evolved from that ad-supported model into a subscription-based one. I’ve also spent a lot of time on that side so it makes complete sense to me and I think that’s a terrific product … on the side of marketing, if it’s not longer ad-supported, there’s no need for people to sell against that platform.”
Pallad said “he put a lot of thought” into joining Undertone and after meeting CEO Corey Ferengul and the rest of the executive team he realised their beliefs on what high-impact advertising means are well aligned with his own.
Pallad, who also held executive-level positions at Cumulus Media and Citadel Broadcasting before joining Apple, said: “As I look back at my career, I’ve worked with organisations where the revenue strategy for companies is driven by investors; I’ve been in situations where the strategy and vision is really focused on finding short-term growth through efficiencies; I’ve worked for organisations where, quite frankly, advertising and marketing wasn’t the core business. In both cases, I think that creates challenges at times.
But after the first sitting with Ferengul and the rest of the Undertone executive team, Pallad realised it was the “complete opposite” at his new company: “Advertising and marketing and connecting brands with consumers is our core business. I think the short-term plan they have for continued success is very thoughtful and communicated throughout the entire organisation.”
Pallad said his main aims for the year are driving the message that creative matters when it comes to ad tech, helping to build out the company’s mobile ad business, and working with Perion to score more resources — such as its footprint into social, mobile apps, and with publishers — on the development side.
In addition, Undertone also announced on Wednesday it has hired Diane Malloy as its vice president of programmatic sales and strategy. She joins from ad tech company PubMatic, where she was vice president of global media solutions.
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