Criteo Nabs Greg Coleman, Ex-Sales Chief at HuffPo, AOL, Yahoo

gregcolemanAfter a string of highly visible sales gigs at Yahoo, AOL, and The Huffington Post, Greg Coleman has once more found a roost – this time at display ad retargeting specialist Criteo.

As president, Coleman will seek to drive expansion of Criteo’s U.S. business through courtship of agencies and clients. (The firm is already strong in Europe, where it was founded and maintains headquarters.) At first glance, the job seems a departure for an exec whose most recent roles involved primarily brand advertising sales. But Coleman points out that he oversaw Yahoo’s performance-based ad products including SmartAds and Yahoo Search. He’s also served on Criteo’s advisory board for nearly a year.

Coleman said his key challenge is to distinguish Criteo from the horde of startups operating in the optimized display space.

“In the U.S. there’s so much noise around ad networks, [demand-side platforms], and trading desks,” he told ClickZ. “My strategy is to get above the noise at very high level contacts at clients and agencies.”

Coleman left Huffington Post under unusual terms in February when the company agreed to sell to AOL, where he briefly led sales last year but was pushed out when new CEO Tim Armstrong coaxed Google buddy Jeff Levick to lead monetization.

On a personal level, the ouster was far from disastrous. AOL bought out Coleman’s three-year contract, and he took five months off before arriving at Huffington Post.

Returning to AOL when the sale went through was not an option, but this time he skipped the sabbatical and entertained offers – of which there was no shortage.

“I’ve never been the prettiest girl at the dance,” he said. “All of a sudden I was.”

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