AdFlight CEO Steps Aside

Automated ad network AdFlight has a new chief executive, following a reduction in the role of company founder Albert Lopez.

Company spokespeople told InternetNews.com’s Internet Advertising Report Wednesday that day-to-day operations at the Belmont, Calif. firm now will be overseen by former acting chief operating officer Susan Atherton, who the company said has been “intricately involved” with product and business development since she joined the firm as a member of the board of directors last year.

Prior to joining AdFlight, Atherton served as vice president and general manager of DoubleClick’s global technology business, and before, at NetGravity, which DoubleClick acquired in 1999. Atherton oversaw the company’s AdServer software and DART service offerings for publishers and merchants across North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific.

Lopez, who previously founded e-business consultancy USWeb WorldPort, will continue to serve on the board of directors, and will focus his energies on the company’s technology, said company spokeswoman Isabel Gonzales. The shift was voluntary, according to the firm.

“Albert … has been CEO since the inception of the company, and has really shaped the company into what AdFlight is today,” Gonzales said. “He feels that he’s gotten the company at a point where he can step back and play more of a strategic role in terms of the development of technology — that’s really were his passions lay.”

Atherton will be “focusing more on all of the operations as well as helping and combining Albert’s vision and strategy for the company, in terms of executing it,” Gonzales added.

The company said that the rest of the company’s structure remains in place following the transition of power, although Gonzales said the company is exploring additional products and business “options,” but declined to discuss these in detail.

Recently, a host of founders of Internet marketing-related companies have been ceding their CEO posts in the wake of poor performance, often in favor of more experienced executives. Last month, LifeMinders and U.S. Interactive both their top execs; LifeMinders had posted a worse-than-expected annual performance, while U.S. Interactive filed for Chapter 11.

But AdFlight maintains that this isn’t the case — and that business is going fine.

“We continue to operate in the business that we have built — one in which we’ve shown revenue growth consistently,” she said.

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