Ad Company OpenX Hires Longtime Hulu Exec Tom Fuelling As CFO

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Online and mobile advertising company OpenX is announcing the appointment of Tom Fuelling as its new chief financial officer.

Fuelling (pictured) previously served as CFO at Hulu for six years, starting in 2007. The streaming video site announced last fall that Fuelling was departing and would be replaced by Disney’s Elaine Paul, following the appointment of new CEO Mike Hopkins.

Fuelling has also served as CFO for Ascent Media Network Services, ARTISTdirect, and Village Roadshow Pictures, among others. He told me that OpenX was a good fit in several ways, including “the entrepreneurial nature of its team” and the fact that it’s bringing “positive, disruptive” change to the ad industry.

The hiring of a new CFO, particularly for a venture-backed company that’s doing well, can be a sign of plans for an IPO. (After all, Fuelling helped ARTISTdirect go public.) When I asked OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan about whether that was a possibility, he gave the (fairly common) answer that he’s focused on “building a company” and doesn’t want to “put the cart in front of the horse” by treating any kind of financing as the end goal.

“Look, companies like ours access the capital markets — that happens in a variety of ways, and it usually leads to public markets at some state,” Cadogan said. “Part of the reason Tom is here is to make sure that we are structured from a financial part of view so that all our options are in front.”

Fuelling added that he sees some “low hanging fruit” when it comes to improving and growing the company’s financial side: “Sometimes the business success gets ahead of some of the processes that underlie it.”

OpenX’s technology supports real-time bidding and ad serving, and the company says that 65 percent of comScore 100 publishers participate in its ad exchange. It continues to expand its offerings, for example with the acquisition of JumpTime and the subsequent launch of its revenue intelligence product.

Cadogan suggested that we’re at “an inflection point” at the end of the first cycle in programmatic ad-buying. with a wider array of possible formats and business models coming up next. He compared it to products like cars and sunglasses, saying that they started out with a few standard models, but now, “You can make your own sunglasses, and you can pretty much configure your own cars.”

Fuelling is replacing Rick J. Gombos as OpenX’s CFO.