Neal is responsible for Google's display advertising initiatives globally. This includes the Google Display Network, AdSense, Ad Exchange, AdMob, Invite Media, Admeld and our suite of DoubleClick products. His efforts have focused on growing the overall industry by bringing innovative products to Google's advertiser and publisher partners. Prior to joining Google through the DoubleClick acquisition in 2008, he was senior vice president of strategy and product development at DoubleClick, building the company's strategic plan, leading the product management team in its execution, and growing the business rapidly.
Previously, Neal held various leadership positions at DoubleClick and NetGravity in technology development, business operations, and client services. In this process he played a key role in pioneering the digital marketing industry. He has also served in strategy and consulting roles at Microsoft and Accenture.
Neal has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. He also has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
David Kenny was recently appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC). An experienced executive with a strong record in the media and digital industries, Kenny works closely with the management team and the Board of Directors to leverage the company's unique collection of media assets and spearhead the further development of a comprehensive, integrated strategy to accelerate its growth in the United States and internationally.
David brings strong leadership experience from the media industry, a deep understanding of the TV and digital businesses, and vision to drive global initiatives across all platforms. Kenny comes to TWCC after serving as president of Akamai, the leading cloud platform designed to help enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences to mobile and fixed internet users.
Previously, he co-founded and served as managing partner of VivaKi, the combined worldwide media and digital arm of Publicis Groupe, and he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Digitas Inc., a top global integrated brand agency. Kenny currently serves as member of the Board of Directors of Yahoo Inc., and a director of Teach for America, a nonprofit that enlists recent graduates to teach and to effect change in under-resourced and low-income communities.
The Weather Channel properties are the most popular source of weather news and information, reaching 163 million people – and 110 million of those people access content through multiple platforms. The Weather Channel provides weather information online to 62 million unique users each month and 11 million per day. It also reaches 33 million monthly unique users through its mobile platform and 94 million monthly cable viewers. TWCC is owned by a consortium of Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, and NBC Universal.
James Pitaro is co-president of Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG), the interactive entertainment segment of The Walt Disney Company.
In his role, Mr. Pitaro oversees Disney Online, which serves as the online, mobile web, and social media gateway to everything Disney. Disney Online produces number one ranked community-family and parenting web destinations, made up of Disney.com and the Disney Family network of websites, which includes Disney Family.com, FamilyFun.com, Kaboose.com, and Babyzone.com. Mr. Pitaro also oversees DigiSynd, which manages The Walt Disney Company’s brand presence in the social media space.
Prior to joining DIMG, Mr. Pitaro served as vice president of Yahoo! Media where he was responsible for guiding the strategic growth and continued development of Yahoo!’s media properties. Prior to that role, Mr. Pitaro was vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Sports where he was credited with leading the website to its position as the number one online sports destination. Previous to that role, Mr. Pitaro served as vice president and head of business affairs for Yahoo! Music, where he was instrumental in making it the web’s number one music site.
Before joining the Yahoo! team, Mr. Pitaro was vice president of business affairs for LAUNCH Media, Inc and practiced law at several New York firms.
Mr. Pitaro holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School.
As Chief Executive Officer at BlueKai, Omar is responsible for the overall management, growth, and vision for the company's groundbreaking data platform business. Prior to founding BlueKai, Omar was the Chief Advertising Officer of Medio Systems, the leading provider of mobile search and advertising solutions for carriers such as Verizon and T-Mobile. He joined Medio from Revenue Science, where as Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager he was instrumental in founding and growing the company's leading behavioral targeting businesses, which provide services for many of the largest Internet publishers. There he was actively involved with key industry leaders in defining standards for behavioral targeting.
Omar earned Master of Computer Science and Industrial Engineering degrees from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from MIT. While at Stanford, he was a computer science researcher at both the Stanford Logic Group and HP Software Labs. Omar's research on formalizing content was published in the American Association of Artificial Intelligence. Omar is also an active speaker and commentator on topics such as big data, behavioral targeting, mobile advertising, and consumer privacy. He was listed in Media Magazine's Media 100 for 2008 and BlueKai was named Overall B2B Company of 2011 by OnMedia 100.
In his current role, Kurt Unkel oversees the VivaKi Nerve Center, VivaKi's research and development (R&D) center dedicated to building new technologies and practices that connect brands with their customers in today’s digital world. With increased media fragmentation, the Nerve Center is focused on developing technology, talent, and partnerships to help VivaKi clients effectively reach and engage their consumers “across screens” and throughout all stages of the consumer purchase funnel. By centralizing resources into one R&D operation, the Nerve Center harnesses the collective strength of VivaKi’s global scale, which aggregates the marketplace influence of four autonomous brands --ZenithOptimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas and Razorfish.
Prior to his current role, he was EVP, General Manager of Audience On Demand™ (AOD). AOD is VivaKi's addressable media solution that combines industry-leading technology, proprietary partnerships, dedicated expertise and agency collaboration to accelerate data-driven audience buying across all of VivaKi. In three years, Unkel helped grow AOD from 2 clients and 3 employees to 350+ clients, 100+ employees, and over 15,000 daily campaigns, helping VivaKi and its many agencies and clients to be the definitive leaders in the digital addressable marketplace.
Before joining the Nerve Center, Unkel created and led digital strategy, investment, analytics and ad operations teams for 10 years within Publicis Groupe, with a special focus on General Motors (GM). While working on GM, Unkel helped lead the growth in digital spending from less than $20M to over $500M annually by developing strategies, metrics and infrastructure that supported a data-driven media buying approach. Passionate about the intersection of advertising, data and technology, as well as the intersection of technology, family and his couch, Unkel calls Detroit home.
Shishir joined Google in 2008 and oversees YouTube's product management team; responsible for ensuring the top rated video property delights viewers, provides a global distribution network for content producers, and generates meaningful revenues from advertisers. Since Shishir joined, revenue for our content partners has doubled every year, YouTube currently receives over 60 hours of content every minute from uploaders, and YouTube’s viewership now reaches hundreds of millions of viewers, placing it as one of the top web properties on the internet.
Prior to joining Google, Shishir spent 6 years at Microsoft where he held leadership roles in the Windows, Office, and SQL Server divisions. Before Microsoft, Shishir was the founding CEO of Centrata (acquired by Lontra), a Kleiner-Perkins funded startup focused on data center management technologies.
Shishir is an MIT graduate, with bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. He lives in Los Altos, CA with his wife and two daughters.
Greg Stuart is a recognized leader in digital media & advertising and was selected by Ad Age as one of “10 Who Made Their Mark” in 2006, alongside Chad Hurley and Jay-Z.
He is the Global CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, a worldwide group of Brands, Agencies, Media and Carriers who are working together to build the Mobile Marketing channel. Greg is also former CEO of the U.S. based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the trade group for the interactive advertising & marketing industry. He grew the IAB’s revenues with a CAGR of 37% (overall +500%) while leading the U.S. Internet Ad industry from $6 billion to $17 billion in ad spending. IAB’s customers include AOL, CNET, Google, Disney, Yahoo! & 400 others.
Greg has more than two decades of hands-on operating experience as a proven business builder in the Digital Media and Technology arenas since 1993. He has extensive experience as CEO/Director/senior executive roles with Y&R, Sony Online Ventures, Cars.com, Flycast Ad Network and other venture-backed businesses.
In the last four years he has served as Advisor, Director and angel investor to venture-backed companies, resulting in $750 million in exits, each at least a 10x multiple.
Ad Age identified his book, “What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds,” as the “Number one of 10 books you should have read”.
He is a member of the National Speakers Association and speaks around the world on the failings, and thus opportunities, of advertising - Istanbul, Israel, Germany, Mexico City, Jakarta, Sao Paulo, Switzerland, Zurich, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona, Monaco, Tokyo and others.
Greg has a BA in Economics from the University of Washington and completed Wharton’s Advanced Management Program. He lives happily outside of New York City in Bridgehampton, NY with his wife Pamela, twin daughters and son.
Karim is Google’s Vice President for New Products and Solutions for the Americas region. In this role, he leads Google’s business and strategy for its rapidly growing newer businesses; a wide range of services including mobile advertising, display advertising, publisher products, DoubleClick platforms, YouTube & video, local advertising, social products and new search ad formats. His role involves the commercialization of Google’s latest advertising innovations, widely used by thousands of large and small American businesses.
Prior to this role, he was Google’s Global Head of Mobile. He oversees the growth of Google’s mobile advertising business worldwide, leading the teams charged with providing advertising services and solutions to thousands of advertisers, developers, and publishers.
Previously, Karim was Managing Director, Google Australia and New Zealand, leading its business and strategic partnerships in those countries. Karim joined Google from Fairfax Media, where he was most recently Commercial Director for Newspapers (responsible for agency and group sales, trade marketing and business development) and Group Director, Fairfax General Magazines. Prior to this he was the Publisher and Vice President of Who Weekly at Time Inc South Pacific from 1999 to 2002. He has previously served in a variety of senior capacities with Hachette Filippachi Media, in Hong Kong, Korea and Australia.
Brad Ruffkess is on Coca-Cola's Global Connections Team working with the company's various brands and markets around the world to help deliver Liquid and Linked connection strategies that have social at the heart. Brad has led many of the company's efforts in social marketing across global brands to standardize capabilities that enable Coke's marketers around the world to focus on cultivating conversations at scale across social networks. Prior to Coca-Cola, Brad was Director of Web Strategy at Merge Agency, helped communities in "Creating Bridges as Art" at FIGG in Tallahassee, Florida and founded the now defunct LazyCampus, a network of local portals for smart card enabled college communities.
Michael Lowenstern’s 15 years as a professional bass clarinetist specializing in new music, and his 15 years as a professional marketer specializing in online banner advertising actually have two things in common: They are both very niche corners of their respective markets, and they are both things that most people couldn't care less about. But he does. And along the way, he has found a core group of colleagues that he’s met, hired, developed, learned from, mentored and grown this industry with — who all share this passion for making online advertising an inherently GOOD thing. How? By developing creative executions based on shared truths between his clients and those customers with whom they intersect in the online space. His team doesn't create banners actually; rather they create miniature site experiences, widgets, utilities, and 15-second diversions that connect and re-connect with audiences thousands of times every day.The work, while creative, polished and (hopefully) delightful, is based on this notion: Michael’s team has no idea what works with every audience every time. None. (And if you meet someone who says they do,run.) So, they make their best guess — based on research, experience, climate and gut instinct — and then test and optimize the heck out of it until they have the best performing combination of creative elements possible. Rinse, repeat.
All this probably sounds a little too grandiose — but it gives you an idea of how much Michael cares about this medium being good, effective, and fun. His goal is to re-energize creative digital display advertising in this new world of demand-side platforms, real-time bidding, contextual and social environments, proving that measurable advertising doesn't have to be ugly and/or boring.
Michael Lowenstern is the Managing Director of Digital Advertising at R/GA, having previously been the VP, and founding director of Rich Media development at MRM. In 1996 Michael created his first online ad for BritishAirways, which led to the founding of G2’s (then Grey Direct) online advertising practice. He has created and developed Webby and One Show award-winning advertising for some of the world’s largest brands, and in every vertical.
Peter joined the IAB in mid 2010 to lead "Reimagining Interactive Advertising," a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He was formerly Managing Director of Lowe Worldwide, the global creative agency network of the Interpublic Group, where he held leadership roles overseeing international operations. Peter’s passion is the intersection of creative ideas and technology and he is focused on fueling the full-fledged creative revolution that interactivity has long promised.
John H. Caldwell Jr. is chief digital officer of the National Geographic Society, responsible for National Geographic Ventures’ global digital media business and initiatives, composed of three operating businesses. They are the operation of Nationalgeographic’s Web and mobile business units, including their domestic and international digital extensions and content distribution partnerships; and the Nat Geo Games business with its associated product line and suite of partnerships. Additionally, National Geographic Digital Media (NGDM) is responsible for digital media product development and interactive versions of National Geographic, Traveler and Kids magazines.
Caldwell joined National Geographic in 2007 as vice president of strategic development and operations. He spearheaded a number of key new businesses, developing strategy, budgets and implementation plans for NGDM’s global expansion, three-year content and consumer experiences plans and strategies, as well as managing key partners such as Softbank and ePals.
Prior to joining NGDM, Caldwell served as vice president of corporate development for the consumer health startup Revolution Health Group, where he led business and content development strategies and ran third-party partner operations. He has also worked in a variety of senior management roles with America Online, where he was responsible for the development of AOL’s strategic relationships and agreements with broadband and mobile companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Qwest and Charter Communications; PC distribution, advertising and sponsorship deals, including HP and Dell; and retail channel strategic alliances such as Best Buy and Circuit City. While with the Coca-Cola Company, as director and GM of the western region for the company’s Wendy’s International business, he was responsible for marketing, sales, finance and P&L.
Caldwell earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from Duke University, is a member of the National Geographic Society’s Executive Management Committee, and represents National Geographic on the Online Publisher’s Affiliate Membership Council and the Google Publisher Advisory Council.