After operating in this competitive market without a chief executive for more than a year, messaging service Viber has today announced the appointment of its new CEO. The company has brought on board a prominent AdTech visionary Djamel Agaoua to lead their future growth and ambitions.

In an official statement, Rakuten-owned Viber has detailed his responsibilities saying Agaoua will now be leading the company’s efforts to “accelerate development of innovative new features and the platform’s global user base.” The new chief executive has already taken over his responsibilities and will be dividing his time between the Bay Area and Tel-Aviv. The latter due to the company’s HQ being located there whereas the former because Viber wants to expedite its efforts growth efforts in the U.S.

Commenting on his appointment, Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, says,

With his entrepreneurial spirit, dynamic leadership qualities, and understanding of rapidly evolving markets, I have high expectations of Djamel Agaoua as the new CEO of Viber.

The company had been operating without a leader since their co-founder Talmon Marco, who also served as CEO, departed Viber at the end of 2015. He is now the chief executive of a new ride-sharing startup called Juno. Post his departure, the management team started reviewing options and weren’t under pressure to fill the open position. Speaking about his appointment with TechCrunch, Agaoua says,

I will of course draw upon my previous experiences as I lead Viber, and I know more than anyone that advertising can be very intrusive. Viber users want their private conversations to be respected and they will remain private. It is highly important for our users, it is highly important for Viber.

Further, he adds that the company is currently exploring integrations that’ll make external services available within Viber itself. It is looking to emulate the success garnered by WeChat, who first started baking in mini third-party app modules within its messaging client. Since then, every other chat app, including Telegram or hike, has blatantly copied and implemented the concept in their apps.

As for Agaoua, he is a renowned figure in the mobile ad tech space. He was most recently serving as the chief executive of mobile advertising company MobPartner, before it was picked up by Cheetah Mobile back in March 2015. MobPartner was aimed at providing marketing and monetization services to app developers and brand advertisers. He continued at Cheetah, acting as the Vice President of worldwide sales. It has also been mentioned in Agaoua’s LinkedIn profile that he is on crowdfunding platform’s board.


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