Ad Network Undertone Gets A New CEO Ahead Of Expected IPO

Corey Ferengul Undertone


Corey Ferengul

Undertone CEO Michael Cassidy will become chairman of the premium ad network's board and COO Corey Ferengul will succeed him as CEO, the company said today. Undertone's employees - about 300 of them worldwide - were told the news at midday today.

The move is not a total shock: Cassidy has been at the helm of the company since 2001. But is is interesting because Undertone is rumored to be preparing itself for an IPO. With estimated revenues of $200 million, Undertone was No.10 on Business Insider's ranking of hottest adtech startups. The company also says it is profitable. It has taken a total of $40 million in funding since its founding. The most recent round came in 2008 and it has not taken new funding since then - which is a clue that suggests the company has been running on its own revenues for a long time.

Ferengul joined the company in 2013. Formerly he was EVP/product management and strategy at Rovi Corp., a digital entertainment audience analytics and interactive guide menu company. If you want to read the tea leaves here, Rovi is a public company and Undertone now has a new CEO with experience inside a public company - which increases the speculation that Undertone may be girding for a big exit. (The company said nothing about that idea today, however several months ago Cassidy did suggest that 2014 could be the year for an Undertone IPO.)
Here is the press release:

Mike Cassidy 2013


Michael Cassidy


Transition follows year of record revenue and profitability and positions the company for its next phase of growth

New York · May 20 · Undertone, a leader in creating digital advertising solutions for brands, has announced the promotion of Chief Operating Officer Corey Ferengul to Chief Executive Officer. The company's founder and current Chief Executive Officer Michael Cassidy will be transitioning to the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors. The changes will be effective June 1, 2014.

Under Cassidy's leadership, Undertone has grown from a startup in 2001 to a leader in cross-screen digital advertising. The company employs more than 300 people across the U.S. and Europe and works with the world's largest brands, agencies and media owners. 2013 was a year of significant growth for Undertone. The company added nearly 100 new employees, moved into new headquarters in New York City, and had record revenue and profit. Over the year, the company continued to push the boundaries of innovation with launches including ScreenShift®, a new high impact ad format built using responsive design, and Future Proof Labs™, research facilities exploring emerging technology and its impact on the future of advertising.

"After 13 years at the operational helm of Undertone, and with a sustained trend of growth and innovation, the time is right for me to move into a new role as Chairman of the Board," said Cassidy. "Undertone is entering an exciting new era, one in which we are fusing our cross-screen creative solutions with an expanded technical infrastructure, and Corey is the right executive to lead the organization to new heights. He brings all the necessary blend of skills in his experience from growing organizations. I'm excited to work with him and the rest of the executive team in my new role."

Ferengul joined Undertone in 2013 as Chief Operating Officer. He has more than ten years of executive experience with a strength in growth companies. Prior to Undertone, he held the position of Executive Vice President, Product Management and Strategy at Rovi Corporation, a publicly traded digital media entertainment company. While at Rovi he was a key member on an executive team that more than tripled revenue and market cap over a 6 year period. Prior to Rovi, Ferengul held executive and management roles at Unitech Systems, META Group and Platinum Technology. He currently sits on the board of George R. and Martha Means Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and is a graduate of Illinois State University.

"This is a fantastic opportunity and I'm grateful for the confidence of Michael and the Board in my ability to lead the company through its next phase of growth," said Ferengul. "I joined Undertone because of its differentiation, strong customer relationships and a track record market-outpacing growth. I'm excited by the fast moving dynamics of the digital advertising market and I look forward to propelling Undertone forward."