Chief executive Drayton departs Phorm

LONDON - Hugo Drayton, UK chief executive of behavioural targeting company Phorm, is stepping down just weeks after four board members left the company amid differences over strategy.

Departing chief executive Hugo Drayton
Departing chief executive Hugo Drayton

Drayton, previously marketing and new media director at The Telegraph Group, is set to leave Phorm at the end of the year, but will remain an adviser to the company.

Former president of Turner Broadcasting System Europe, Nan Richards, will take up the role of deputy chief executive. She will work with Phorm’s worldwide chief executive, Kent Ertugrul.

A new role of UK managing director has been created for Nick Barnett, Phorm's current UK commercial director. He will be responsible for the UK business working with ISPs on the trial and deployment of Phorm's technology.

In addition, Andrew Croxson has been appointed as interim global chief financial officer, following a stint with technology, media and telecommunications specialists Ingenious Consulting. He will replace Lynne Millar who resigns as UK chief financial officer.

Phorm is behind technology that analyses web users' behaviour in a bid to serve up more relevant advertising. The company has been criticised because of fears that its technology will allow internet companies to spy on users.

However, it has taken great pains to explain that privacy is one of its major concerns and that because of the way its targeting works, no identifying information is retained on web users.

Earlier this month, Phorm announced that its non-executive chairman Steven Heyer, chief operating officer Virasb Vahidi and two other board members had stepped down, following differences of opinion with Ertugrul.

Phorm expects to launch its ad service in the first half of next year after a successful trial with BT.

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