QuadrantONE CEO Andy Ellenthal will leave the local ad network, he confirmed with ClickZ News this morning.
Ellenthal said he will start next month in his new role as CEO of semantic ad firm Peer39. The company employs semantic analysis to target display ads based on the context of content on a Web page. “There’s too much emphasis being placed on audience and audience alone,” he said. “Ultimately it’s about the user, and you need to remember why that user is on that Web page.”
“It’s almost like it was made for me. The agonizing part was the emotional attachment I have to what I think is a great company in QuadrantONE.”
A QuadrantONE spokesperson declined to discuss who is set to replace Ellenthal, though there are indications that someone has been chosen to fill the slot. “There will be an addition to the senior management team in the next few days” Ellenthal told ClickZ. However, he would not elaborate on whether that person would be his replacement or take up another position.
QuadrantONE is co-owned by Gannett Co., Hearst Corporation, Tribune Company, and The New York Times Company. It launched in February 2008 in the hopes of garnering more national ad dollars for newspaper and other local sites from large national brands. Ellenthal took the helm in July of that year.
He joined QuadrantONE from Visible World, a firm that helps national advertisers localize television and Web ad content, where he served as SVP. He previously held a senior executive role at ad tech firm PointRoll, owned by Gannett.
Despite some rumors that QuadrantONE could be shut down by its co-owner after the current investment term runs its course, Ellenthal stressed that “ownership continues to be very supportive.”
“The business is in excellent shape,” he said, noting, “The core business is still what it was initially intended to do which is to bring high quality newspaper or local audiences to national advertisers. We’ve just gotten much better about bringing that story to the market.”
He said the company brought in 130 new advertisers to the network last year, and has done particularly well with retail, auto, telco, and issue advocacy advertisers. Current advertiser clients include John Deere, AT&T, Verizon, and Estee Lauder.
Follow Kate Kaye on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the news that Ellenthal will move to Peer39.
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