Ned Brody can officially join Yahoo as SVP for the Americas, five months after resigning his post as CEO of AOL Networks, the unit that houses the company's ad-tech properties.
Brody had been constrained from heading to Yahoo by a noncompete clause, which could have kept him from starting the job until April 2014. But AOL decided to waive the noncompete in exchange for what sources familiar with the deal said was a "commercial arrangement" between the two portals. Details on the nature of the new partnership were not revealed publicly, but could involve an expansion of the remnant ad deal AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to three years ago.
Brody will report to Yahoo COO Henrique De Castro, who praised his "analytical insight," but did not say what exactly he would be doing in his new role. When Brody exited AOL, the expectation was that he would be Yahoo's sales head, even though his main experience is as a "platform builder." It's been more than a year since Marissa Mayer became Yahoo's CEO and her focus has centered on creating a better consumer experience through mobile-focused acquisitions. Read the release.
The one ad-tech exception in Mayer's shopping spree this past year came in July, when Yahoo acquired mobile-ad targeter and data-management software provider AdMovate. That company's talent and technology has since been integrated with the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's existing -- some might suggest neglected – ad-tech platforms, which include the display-serving tool Apt, the data-management software of Genome and the ad exchange Right Media.
If Yahoo does turn more attention to its ad-tech properties, Brody would be a natural partner for De Castro, who was instrumental in building up Google's strategy for the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, YouTube ads, Google Display Network, Google’s TV Ads and AdMob.
Brody was not available for comment. But a Yahoo rep offered a quote from its newest executive as a hint of where Brody's interests are turned.
After noting that Yahoo has to "delight" consumers and marketers, Brody described his marching orders as handling the latter. "We do that by providing highly effective advertising products within those consumer products," Brody said. "If we can deliver on the promise of the largest reach of the most effective advertising products, we can win as a company."
Since Brody departed, AOL has been busy filling his position and the executives around it in to position itself as a provider of programmatic ad solutions to buyers and sellers. A little more than a month ago, AOL named Razorfish head Bob Lord to the dual role of CEO of AOL Networks and manager, an exclusive partnership between AOL and Publicis that involves developing new approaches around the creative and programmatic parts of the two companies.
Incidentally, AOL recently hired two former Yahoo executives to work on its "owned and operated" content strategy. Last month, Nate Richardson, who most recently was CEO of Newark Mayor Cory Booker's content startup, Waywire, will be in charge of the streaming video channel AOL Live. And, just last week, Luke Beatty, the founder of aggregator Associated Content, which he sold to Yahoo for $90 million three years ago, was hired to head up strategic partnerships for AOL.
On top of all the new hires AOL also added the $405 million acquisition of video ad-tech company Adap.tv last month. So, as the company prepares for its "programmatic upfront" later this month, they feel confident they have moved on from where Brody helped take them and see no competitive need to keep him in limbo.