AppNexus taps ex-Microsoft VP to lead European buy-side charm offensive

In a sign of the tectonic shift in the online advertising industry’s dynamics, AppNexus has announced the appointment of former UK Microsoft Advertising boss Owen Sagness as vice-president of sales for its advertising technology group (ATG).

Sagness will report to Marcus Startzel, AppNexus chief revenue officer, for its demand-side platform (DSP) offering, and will lead the charge in the ad tech outfit’s charm offensive on the busy-side of the industry across EMEA from his London base.

Startzel said Sagness’ existing relationships with media agencies and brand-side marketers will aid its push in the region. “Given our aggressive push in European markets, his expertise and counsel will prove an invaluable asset,” he added.

Sagness worked with Microsoft in both North America and Europe since 1996, having held the title of general manager, advertising, and online in the UK until December last year. During this time he also an IAB board member, and boasts a roster of senior agency and client-side contacts, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Last year AOL, AppNexus and Microsoft struck an agreement that would see the latter all but exist from the online advertising business, with AOL agreeing to directly sell inventory on its behalf, while AppNexus would help it monetise using automated technologies. Although, as yet unconfirmed reports, have since claimed Microsoft is mulling a re-entry to the market with a planned bid for Yahoo.

Privately held AppNexus – which itself is reportedly in search of an exit (either by way of an initial public offering, or direct sale) has been pushing its publisher suite in recent months, and will now be making greater about its offering in the DSP space, including the “re-introduction” of its DSP.

“Owen will play a lead role in helping marketers and agencies differentiate their campaigns with our programmable personalised DSP, added Startzel.

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