Jul 16, 2019 - Economy

Exclusive: Flipboard adds advertising veteran David Bell to its board

David Bell. Photo: Flipboard

Flipboard is adding advertising veteran David Bell to its board. Bell will replace venture capitalist Danny Rimer, who has been on Flipboard's three-person board for ten years.

Why it matters: The shakeup comes as the news reading app company prepares to transition more of its advertising business from display advertising to native advertising. Bell is considered a titan of the ad industry and could help Flipboard as it tries to get more serious about making money.

The details: Bell joins Flipboard founder and CEO Mike McCue and Kleiner Perkins Chairman John Doerr as members of the Flipboard's board.

  • McCue says Rimer informed him a year ago that he intended to move to London, which would make it difficult for him to stay on. "We're a small board, so in-person meetings are critical for us," McCue told Axios.
  • McCue says he asked Rimer to stay on to help find his replacement.

The big picture: Flipboard has been close to profitability for a few years, per McCue. The company has focused on content and technology for a long time, and is now focusing towards creating a more lucrative ad model through native advertising.

  • "In the coming months, we'll be putting more and more energy into enabling companies — big and small — on our platform to drive traffic towards their brands through native ads," says McCue.
  • McCue says that the goal is to curate relevant content and topics for brands: "You'll see a lot more energy in business side of that in terms curation. We haven't really put that much energy into that part of our business, until recently. That's how we think going to grow. "

Between the lines: Bell is the former Chairman of Interpublic Group (IPG), one of the world's largest global ad agencies.

  • He is the only executive to lead all four major ad industry associations: American Associations of Advertising Agencies (4As), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) and the Ad Council.
  • "Flipboard's platform and technology is ideal place for the future of the native advertising space. I don't think another place where native ads can work better or harder," Bell tells Axios.
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