Browse articles by topic

XLMedia poaches Rakuten’s Dorward for North America role


Affiliate marketing services provider XLMedia has announced the appointment of Ken Dorward, formerly of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, as its new president North America.

Dorward, who will also join the XLMedia global executive committee, will focus on exploiting opportunities within the personal finance and sports markets in the US and Canada.

This will include building new strategic partnerships and also both acquiring and developing content-rich and engaging websites.

Dorward was most recently chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Rakuten Advertising, the performance marketing, media and data insights subsidiary of the business. XLMedia’s chief executive Stuart Simms also joined from Rakuten Marketing, in July 2019.

Prior to this, Dorward was a co-founder of Uncommon Content Partners, which specialises in the production and distribution of content across web, television and other multi-media channels.

“Ken has a deep understanding of our industry and a proven track record of delivery,” XLMedia CEO Simms said. “This is another step in the execution of XLMedia’s transformation strategy to deliver the next phase of growth.

“I, and the rest of the team, very much look forward to working with Ken to drive rapid progress outside Europe, and to begin to make material inroads into the attractive US personal finance and sports markets.”

XLMedia set out a new three-part strategy in February, accelerating a number of planned initiatives in response to concerns over Google’s changes to its search algorithm.

The three primary strategic goals for XLMedia under this initiative are focused on the consolidation of publishing assets, investment in US sports and personal finance, and further investment in regulated markets.

As part of this, XLMedia last month concluded a strategic review that will see it “streamline” a number of roles and functions across the business.

Last week, XLMedia also set out a new proposal to sell the majority of its Finnish-facing casino assets, along with certain other publishing sites. Should XLMedia complete the sale of the assets, any proceeds generated will be used to support the future acquisition and development of content-rich and engaging sites.