Maxus investment head Ricky Chanana exits for MD spot at Unruly

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 12 September 2017
Ricky Chanana

News Corp’s video ad tech company Unruly has appointed Ricky Chanana as managing director of its Australia and New Zealand business, AdNews can reveal.

Chanana joins from GroupM agency Maxus, where he has been the national investment lead and brings more than 14 years of experience in advertising.

Over the past decade, he has held several senior digital and investment roles at Maxus and MEC – the two agencies that are merging to form Wavemaker.

At MEC he helped build the digital product for local and global accounts, including Red Bull, Mitsubishi, Colgate and Paramount before joining Maxus to head up digital and more recently investment across the agency.

Chanana fills a void left by former ANZ boss Lance Traore, who left Unruly in April to pursue a new challenge.

At Unruly, Chanana will be charged with driving Unruly’s growth and establishing the company’s suite of emotional intelligence ad tech solutions in Australia and New Zealand.

This includes the IBM Watson-enabled targeting tool Unruly Custom Audiences, which uses AI to allow advertisers to target valuable light buyers, and viewable video SSP UnrulyX.

A standout candidate

Prior to joining Unruly, Chanana told AdNews he was looking to broaden his experience beyond media agencies and Unruly was an ideal opportunity.

“I’m really excited and thrilled to join the Unruly/NewsCorp family,” Chanana said. “UnrulyX, Unruly EQ and Unruly Custom Audiences are having a huge impact on the way advertisers and agencies think about creative, audience segmentation and programmatic video.

“I’m really looking forward to leading an incredibly successful team here in ANZ and helping the business and our rapidly-expanding client base deliver continued success.”

Chanana will join Unruly at News Corp’s Sydney headquarters in November and reports to APAC chief commercial officer Phil Townend.

Townend, who is based in Singapore, said Chanana was the standout candidate for the role.

“He brings an incredible amount of experience, energy, drive and charisma to the Unruly and News Corp Australia family,” Townend said.

“His ideas are infectious, and I have no doubt he will be able to help us realise our collective ambition to be the number one premium video solution in the Australian market.

“He understands the needs of blue chip advertisers and their agencies, and can help drive a more human, data-driven and outcome-centric approach to creative and programmatic.”

Commercial video strategy

News Corp chief digital officer Nicole Sheffield welcomed Chanana to the company’s digital executive team where he will lead the group’s commercial video strategy.

“Video is a core focus for the business as we further evolve our production capabilities with short form video and editorial in video at its most powerful,” Sheffield said.

“We are well placed to reframe the digital video opportunity in premium environments because we have the framework and importantly we have the data which allows us to constantly evolve and create new strategies for content creation and distribution.

“Over the last two years Unruly's leading technology and video expertise has advanced and grown our premium video inventory at real scale across News Corp Australia's digital networks while offering our advertisers new and innovative ways to access and connect with their audiences."

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