AT&T Hires Kirk McDonald, Ad Tech Veteran, As New Chief Marketing Officer

Written by Staff

AT&T has hired ad tech veteran Kirk McDonald as chief marketing officer for its new still-unnamed advertising and data business. He previously worked at PubMatic and Time Inc.

“As CMO, Kirk will be responsible for the creation and implementation of the marketing strategy for AT&T’s advertising and analytics company,” a company spokesman said in an email statement.

From Ad Age. Story by By 

Kirk McDonald
Kirk McDonald, new CMO for AT&T. Photo: Pubmatic

AT&T is expanding, like many of its wireless rivals, into digital media, data and advertising. In 2015, it bought DirecTV, and last year bought Invade, a TV advertising technology company. AT&T is in the process of buying Time Warner, a deal that has run afoul of the Department of Justice, which has demanded Time Warner sell CNN as part of the deal, according to some reports.

Its biggest rival Verizon has made similar, and more high-profile, acquisitions like AOL and Yahoo, and launched a mobile video platform called Go90.

The wireless industry, like so many others, is evolving to meet new challenges presented by internet giants Facebook and Google, which have flourished in the market for mobile attention. AT&T and Verizon control the pipes, but Facebook and Google command consumers’ time online, and the ad market—they control more than 60 percent of an $80 billion digital ad market in the U.S., according to eMarketer.

Oath, Verizon’s combination of Yahoo and AOL, will do $3.6 billion in ads in 2017, while Facebook and Google combine for more than $60 billion.

McDonald will be in charge of how AT&T presents its ad business to brands and marketers, and the new ad unit was built specifically in anticipation of the Time Warner merger.

“(We) will create a new, innovative advertising platform focused on transparency and brand-safe placement in premium content across screens,” AT&T said in the announcement on Thursday.

Read more at Ad Age.

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