Another top Acxiom executive leaves company to join Silicon Valley startup

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 1,945 views 

A top Acxiom Corp. executive who headed the Conway data marketer’s fast-growing LiveRamp business has departed the company to lead a crosstown Silicon Valley startup that specializes in healthcare data analysis.

In a recent filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission over the weekend, Acxiom officials quietly announced that former LiveRamp president and general manager S. Travis May had resigned on Friday (April 13) from his current position as “Chief Growth Officer,” or CGO. He will continue to serve as a company consultant through October 2018, the SEC filing states.

May and more than 70 other LiveRamp employees came into Acxiom’s fold in nearly four years ago After the company purchased the San Francisco data onboarding and people-based marketing firm for $310 million in cash in the summer of 2014. May took over as the top executive at Acxiom’s LiveRamp division after former CEO Auren Hoffman left the company nearly 15 months following the 2014 acquisition. Hoffman has since joined San Francisco artificial intelligence startup SafeGraph as chief executive.

In September, May was reassigned to a new position at Acxiom when the company appointed James Arra and Anneka Gupta as co-presidents of Silicon Valley subsidiary, reporting directly to company CEO Scott Howe. At the time, May transitioned to the newly created CGO role, where he oversaw Acxiom’s growth strategy and supported the company’s product development and business development efforts, reporting directly to Howe. May was also given an opportunity by Howe to dedicate a portion of his time to an outside business venture.

Acxiom officials did not respond to a Talk Business & Politics inquiry concerning whether May’s resignation was tied to his new role as co-founder and CEO of Datavant in San Francisco. A week after May was reassigned at Acxiom, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roivant Sciences tapped the tech veteran to head the launch of a new healthcare data startup that will focus on artificial intelligence to improve the clinical trial process.

“As a technologist looking at the biopharma industry, it’s surprising and disconcerting how little data is shared as compared to other industries,” May said after the Datavant announcement on Sept. 20. “There is tremendous potential to apply analytics to this data more effectively, improve drug development, and ultimately save lives.”

Roivant, which recently secured a $1.1 billion equity investment to clear the launch of new startups within the biopharmaceutical industry, has not reveals its financial stake in Datavant.

In February, Acxiom made the surprise announcement that it planned to realign and reorganize its business operations into two core divisions, LiveRamp and Acxiom Marketing Solutions, centered around data augmentation, people-based marketing, data management and strategies and analytics services.

Under the company’s new restructuring, all of Acxiom’s consumer identity assets, including the IdentityLink, AbiliTec and Acxiom TV brands, will be consolidated under LiveRamp. The remaining Audience Solutions’ lines of business for data and data services will be combined with Marketing Services to create Acxiom Marketing Solutions, led by co-presidents Rick Erwin and Dennis Self.

But LiveRamp could soon be the lone remaining division after Acxiom’s board of director’s compensation committee approved an extra incentive plan for Erwin and Self, tying the cash bonus to the sale of the declining Little Rock-based Marketing Solutions business propelled the company’s growth as an industry leader in data management and direct mail marketing.

Acxiom is expected to report fourth quarter and yearly earnings result on the re-aligned company next month. Despite the loss of its third-party data business with Facebook, Wall Street expects the Little Rock tech company to eke out a fourth quarter profit of two cents per share on revenue of nearly $240 million, according to Thomson Reuters.