Unruly seeks new CEO as founders Wood, Button and Cooke take a back seat

Unruly is looking for a "programmatic superstar" to succeed Sarah Wood as chief executive next spring when she becomes an advisory board member at the ad tech company.

Unruly founders: Cooke, Button, and Wood
Unruly founders: Cooke, Button, and Wood

Wood announced in a letter to colleagues, that was also published as a blog post, that she would be stepping back from the day-to-day running of the company she started 12 years ago, as would her co-founders, chief strategy officer Scott Button, and chief tech officer Matt Cooke.

The move comes two years after Unruly was sold for at least £58m to News Corp. That acquisition saw the three co-founders report to News UK’s chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, who had returned to the role shortly before.

Brooks said: "Sarah, Scott and Matt have boundless energy and talent, which is visible in the tremendous company they have built. I’m grateful for the expertise of the teams they have created and for embedding adtech into News Corp’s cross-platform portfolio." 

Wood also announced a series of internal promotions: Steve Hayes becomes chief technology officer, Ken Suh is now chief operating officer and Louise Tullin is chief marketing officer.

Button and Cooke will take up board responsibilities with immediate effect and will steer the handover process. Wood, meanwhile, will stay on until 1 April 2018, when she will become chair of Unruly’s board – by which time, the business aims to have her successor in place.

Wood wrote: "After 12 exhilarating years of building a global business and challenging the norms of ad tech at every step, we are looking forward to handing the baton to our highly experienced and talented exec team.

"Their ambitious vision for Unruly 2020 will ensure that we continue to deliver wow for advertisers and take the lead on transforming advertising for the better, as well as upholding the Unruliness you have all come to expect."

Simon Gwynn

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