Former VivaKi and Digitas CEO David Kenny has been named president at technology infrastructure firm Akamai Technologies.
In his new role, effective Sept. 7, Kenny will lead the company’s business operations and report to CEO Paul Sagan, who had also held the presidency. The post is not completely unexpected. Akamai is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., nearby Kenny’s Boston base. When leaving Publicis Groupe, Kenny cited his reluctance to move to Paris to advance further at the company. He’s also familiar with Akamai, having served on its board since July 2007.
“Akamai plays such an important role in the very fabric of the Internet, and I have long admired the company’s talents and technological capabilities,” Kenny said in a statement. “I was honored to be asked by Paul to help Akamai execute against its many opportunities for continued growth and innovation, and it is a distinct privilege to join the Akamai team.”
By taking a job at Akamai, Kenny avoids conflicts that would arise if he reentered the agency business. When he departed Publicis, he told Adweek he would look for opportunities in private equity, media or technology.
Akamai fits the bill for the latter two options. It builds the tech infrastructure underpinning many important functions of Internet content delivery, including online video and e-commerce. Founded in 1998, Akamai is publicly traded with a market capitalization of $7.6 billion.
Kenny spent nearly a decade at Digitas prior to Publicis buying it in December 2006 for $1.3 billion. At Publicis, he oversaw its digital strategy that saw the firm complement its purchase of Digitas with a $530 million deal for Razorfish in August 2009. It also bought search specialist Performics from Google in August 2008. The moves were made under the banner of VivaKi, conceived by Kenny as a unit that melds Publicis’ digital and media assets to allow the holding company to take advantage of its scale in driving partnerships with media and technology players, centralizing research and the development and management of digital talent.