Rakuten Marketing has appointed retail tech veteran Stuart Simms (pictured below) as chief executive officer.
Leading the company through its next phase of innovation and exponential growth, Simms will be focused on advancing the state of online advertising in ways that make it more compelling, tailored and inspiring for consumers – and more profitable for brands.
Central to this is a commitment to increase Rakuten Marketing’s investments in areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning that help predict consumers’ needs, interests and preferences.
Simms has 26-years of executive experience, with proven expertise in building and leading high-growth, global digital commerce, SaaS and cloud-services organisations.
He joined the Rakuten Marketing team in 2017 and now takes the reigns as CEO.
Former CEO, Tony Zito, will assume a new role in the Rakuten business.
“There couldn’t be a better time to appoint someone like Stuart to this important leadership role,” stated Zito.
“He is an impressive talent and, given our newest technology focus on artificial intelligence, Rakuten Marketing now has a tremendous opportunity to realise its vision when it comes to advancing and improving consumer advertising.”
Prior to his newest appointment, Simms served as president of Rakuten Marketing, holding responsibility for all day-to-day operations.
During this period, he successfully enhanced the company’s corporate structure to further align Rakuten Marketing’s product, technology and services divisions.
Since his appointment as president, Rakuten Marketing has recognised a new client increase of 16 per cent over the last year.
This success reflects Simms’s commitment to positioning the organisation for accelerated growth.
Before working with Rakuten Marketing, Simms held numerous executive leadership positions at major multi-national organisations.
He was CEO of Rakuten Fits Me, served as GM for Venda (sold to Netsuite), and was GM at Rackspace where he ran the highly acclaimed European Cloud Services business.
Other previous senior leadership roles have included responsibility for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications business across the Middle East and Africa.
Through all positions, he has been an early pioneer in new tech waves, including mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence and data science, and a consummate leader and driver of organisational health and growth.
“Advertising drives many of life’s most enjoyable experiences – from international events like the World Cup and Olympics, to celebrity news, to daily necessities like weather, online shopping and social media connections,” commented Simms.
“In many ways, the industry’s focus on ad technology and its functionality has diminished ad creativity, and we are simply not delivering what consumers need and desire.
“Rakuten Marketing is a global, leading-edge technology company with a highly talented team, and I’m excited to lead its next phase of growth.
“We are committed to leveraging the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, along with Rakuten’s massive data assets, to deliver ad experiences that people love, and ads that enable our brands to profit.