Content recommendation company Revcontent has a new chief executive: Omar Nicola, formerly the co-founder of mobile advertising company Kixer.
Revcontent’s founder and outgoing CEO John Lemp will remain involved as chairman of the board of directors.
“Omar is the perfect choice to take over as CEO of Revcontent, because of his wealth of experience and track record of success as a publisher and a leader of several different advertising technology companies,” Lemp said in a statement. “Founding and building Revcontent has been one of the most rewarding times of my life and I am humbled by the many successes … I look forward to following Revcontent’s future success as Chairman while also having the opportunity to spend more time focusing on my family, my other businesses and some passion projects.”
Revcontent COO Richard Marques described Nicola as “the perfect fit to elevate us to that next level.” At the same time, Nicola didn’t anticipate making big changes in strategy.
“Part of it is me coming in and looking at things we can improve upon, and looking at things that we can restructure,” he said. “But the business has been built from the ground up pretty successfully. My job is to help grow that business: What can I do in my day-to-day to essentially complement what’s been done to date?”
Nicola noted that he’s spent “the better part of 10 years” in the adtech industry — in fact, he suggested that Kixer had a similar model to Revcontent, except that it was recommending mobile apps instead of news articles. (Kixer was acquired by Lakana and its parent company Nexstar Broadcasting Group in 2015, and Nicola served as Nexstar’s senior vice president for revenue and operations until last year.)
It’s a challenging time for the digital media business, but Nicola said the key is to make sure Revcontent is a good partner for its publishers.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to find a balance [between] user experience and revenue and make sure that publishers move forward,” he said. He noted that in the short term, “the best thing for us might be to include as many ad units and widgets as possible, but one, that’s not the best thing for the industry and two, it’s not the best thing for the publisher. What we try to do is strike fair deals and build those relationships as a fair partner.”
He also argued that Revcontent has the freedom to take the high road because it’s been self-funded.
“This is not a company that’s got a ton of venture capital in it,” he said. “I use a term adtech purgatory … because you find yourself in a scenario where you’ve raised too much money that exiting the business can only be done for a crazy amount of money. That will never happen to me, I like having the flexibility that we have. Not having taken on that venture money was extremely important to me.”