Chat and messaging giant Viber has appointed a new chief executive, more than a year after the company last claimed a permanent CEO.
Viber’s new CEO is Silicon Valley-based Djamel Agaoua, who will lead Viber in its efforts to “accelerate development of innovative new features and [grow] the platform’s global user base,” according to a company statement.
Founded in 2010, Viber is a WhatsApp-style communications app that claims more than 800 million users globally across all platforms, including desktop, Android, and iOS. It offers voice- and video-calling functionality to other Viber users, as well as the ability to call standard phone numbers, similar to Skype.
Cofounder Talmon Marco had served as CEO since the company’s inception, but according to Viber he left the post at the end of 2015. However, Marco’s LinkedIn page suggests he had not been CEO since around the end of 2014 — not long after Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million. In mid-2015, Marco actually started a new ride-sharing startup called Juno, where he now serves as CEO.
The upshot of this is that Viber has effectively been without a CEO since Marco’s departure, with leadership primarily handled by chief operating officer (COO) Michael Shmilov. “Since [Marco’s departure], the management team has been reviewing options for the CEO role,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat, before adding that they wanted to ensure they had found the right person and “weren’t under pressure” to finalize the process, due to the interim leadership arrangements.
Agaoua, a French national, most recently served as CEO at mobile advertising company MobPartner, a startup that was acquired by Cheetah Mobile in March 2015.
“With his entrepreneurial spirit, dynamic leadership qualities, and understanding of rapidly evolving markets, I have high expectations of Djamel Agaoua as the new CEO of Viber,” said Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.
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