24/7 Real Media Reshuffles Management

24/7 Real Media reshuffled its management, announcing late Wednesday the departure of its president and chief operating officer, Tony Plesner, after two years with the New York-based Internet ad server.

With Plesner’s departure, 24/7 Real Media said it would organize its managment team on product areas, instead of geography: John Barbera, formerly a senior vice president and chief revenue officer, was promoted to president of worldwide media; and Christopher Wagner, the company’s chief executive of European operations, was put in charge of 24/7 Real Media’s technology operations.

Plesner’s departure comes almost exactly two years since he joined the company in October 2000, when 24/7 Media was beginning to feel the effects of the online ad slowdown.

“When Tony came on board he was brought on for a specific job,” said David Moore, 24/7 Real Media’s chief executive. “His set of expertise was to take business from one point to another. His job here was to get the company the right size and to re-capitalize the company. Once that was finished, he wanted to move on.”

Plesner engineered 24/7 Media retrenchment, which included selling off non-core assets, and ultimately the October 2001 merger with Real Media.

“Tony Plesner was brought in two years ago to help change the direction of this company and put us on the path to success,” 24/7 Real Media Chairman and CEO David Moore said in a statement. “Under Tony’s guidance, 24/7 Real Media has emerged as a leading player in the interactive marketing arena, with a clear game plan and bright future.”

In the past year, Plesner’s been sorting out the consolidation of operations from 24/7 Media and Real Media, looking to trim costs and sell off loss-making assets in an effort to reach profitability by the fourth quarter.

During the cost-cutting, the company sold its email list management and broadband businesses, and discontinued its legacy Connect ad server — all holdovers from its 24/7 Media days.

In July, the company got some breathing room in the form of a $5 million financing commitment from Sunra Capital Holdings.

24/7 Real Media has been touting the privacy policies of its OpenAdStream server to differentiate it with market leader DoubleClick’s DART, which has long drawn the ire of privacy advocates.

In August, 24/7 Real Media won an exclusive ad-serving contract from Vivendi Univeral’s VUNet USA subsidiary.

In his new position, Barbera will be in charge of 24/7 Real Media’s media sales, media operation, and affiliate relations. After an initial stint in 2000 as COO of 24/7 Media Europe, Barbera rejoined the company a month ago.

“This is something we’ve carefully planned out,” Moore said. “He’s a very experienced executive and has demonstrated his operating expertise.”

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