We’re proud to announce that last Sunday, Dr. Neal Richter, Chief Technology Officer at Rakuten Marketing was named a winner of the esteemed IAB Tech Lab Service Excellence Award for his significant contributions in developing trustworthy supply chain specifications and OpenRTB (open real-time bidding) 3.0 – a new revision of the core protocol powering the automated buying and selling of online ads.

Further to this, the IAB Tech Lab recognised Dr. Richter for his executive thought leadership, expertise and industry participation driving rapid industry adoption of the organisation’s ads.txt initiative and guidance in the development of ads.cert. Together, they promote and improve programmatic advertising transparency industry-wide and decrease publisher fraud by helping publishers inform buyers about which companies are authorised to sell their digital inventory. Dr. Richter received the award at last weekend’s IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Desert, CA.

The awards recognise the top industry leaders demonstrating innovation and success in data science and technology. The IAB Tech Lab judged finalists based on their professional excellence, forward-thinking capabilities, and marked industry and organisational influence.

“We applaud Dr. Richter for his outstanding industry achievements and contributions,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “The IAB Tech Lab Service Excellence Awards recognise leaders who are paving the future of the digital ad industry, enabling publishers and brand marketers to positively impact consumers in their increasingly complex online experiences.”

As the CTO of Rakuten Marketing, Dr. Richter leads the company’s global technology organisation and the innovative solutions used to optimise our business needs. This includes applying data science and scalable systems to create advanced software products for our clients. Neal has over 20 years of software experience and executive leadership expertise, leading tech teams to create data-driven products that drive bottom-line success. Prior to joining Rakuten Marketing, Dr. Richter worked for the Rubicon Project as CTO and Chief Scientist where he helped pioneer programmatic supply platforms and RTB bidding. Neal also worked as a data science lead for RightNow Technologies and was an early innovator of CRM systems where his team used AI/ML technology to optimise customer experiences for global 2000 companies.

“I am extremely honoured to be recognised by the IAB and the Tech Lab,” stated Neal. “The Tech Lab is an amazing group of passionate technologists across the industry that solve problems together and evolve digital advertising to be highly personalised, relevant and creative for consumers. We are in a critical period where innovation in technology is accelerating, AI is changing how we solve problems, and our work with the IAB Tech Lab centers on staying ahead.”

The IAB Technology Laboratory is an independent, international, research and development consortium charged with producing and helping companies implement global industry technical standards with the goal of reducing friction associated with the digital advertising and marketing supply chain, while contributing to the safe and secure growth of the industry. Neal serves as co-Chair of the IAB TechLab’s OpenRTB protocol that standardised the process of RTB, Deal-ID, Native Ads format, and the ads.txt and ads.cert standards.