Our Board of Directors
As a kid, Brian Lesser loved advertising. His father ran an advertising agency, and as far as he could tell, that was the coolest job in the world. When he would visit the office, he marveled at the quick-witted, dynamic personalities, the pace of the business, and glamour of the industry. For Brian, watching TV was more about commercials than programming – what made a good ad, why it ran when it did, and its intended purpose. Brian gained an appreciation for the magic of the business at an early age.
Then, a successful career that transcended traditional agencies, digital marketing and advertising technology, reached a pivotal moment in 2007. “At the time, most people in the industry felt like programmatic was a fad or a fleeting trend. I disagreed. I thought programmatic was fundamentally different. I thought it would change everything.”
This prophetic hunch led Brian to create Xaxis, one of the industry’s first programmatic media businesses. As part of WPP, Xaxis would go on to put the technology of the future into the hands of thousands of advertisers across the world. This was Brian’s first experience creating a company within a company, and Xaxis became a multi-billion dollar business operating in 40 markets across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Programmatic, it seemed, was not a fad after all.
Later, as CEO of GroupM in North America, Brian ran over a dozen media agencies and specialist businesses. He further applied data and technology in an effort to modernize the media agency business, launching broad platform initiatives focused on audiences rather than the traditional media buying strategies of his father’s time.
As CEO of Xandr, Brian is responsible for building a new kind of advertising company – one that combines vast data and technology resources with mass distribution and world-class content. It’s an opportunity to reinvent advertising again, marrying the creativity and humanity of the business he knew as a kid, with the data and technology he’s helped pioneer.
But more than anything, he hopes that one day his kids won’t find it the worst thing in the world to watch a commercial with their dad – whether that be on a TV, handset, tablet, or holographic headset.