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Trade Desk’s Top Lawyer Stepping Down After Post-IPO High

May 19, 2020, 9:02 PM

The Trade Desk Inc.’s first in-house legal chief, Vivian Yang, will step down after a successor has been found to “ensure a smooth transition,” the company said Tuesday.

Yang has served as the advertising technology company’s chief legal officer since August 2016, a month before she took the legal and regulatory lead for the Trade Desk as it raised roughly $75 million through an initial public offering.

The listing generated $2.4 million in legal fees and expenses for the Trade Desk’s lawyers from Latham & Watkins, according to securities filings at the time. Yang began her legal career in 1995 as an associate in Latham’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Yang, who went on to work in a variety of in-house roles at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Time Warner Inc., did not respond to a request for comment about her decision to leave Trade Desk. Nor did a spokesman for the Ventura, Calif.-based company.

Trade Desk co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Green praised Yang for her performance over the past four years and wished her success in her future endeavors.

“Not only has Vivian helped steer us through a growing set of legal and regulatory requirements as a new public company, but she has always offered thoughtful counsel on a wide range of business topics beyond the traditional general counsel remit,” Green said in a statement. “She has built an outstanding global legal team that stands us in great stead for the future.”

Yang thanked Green—a former Microsoft Corp. executive who has become a billionaire due to the success of the Trade Desk’s digital advertising platform—in a statement for the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to join the company, founded in 2009, and take it public.

“While I plan to take a moment and recharge for the first time in my career, I look forward to the next stage of my professional life in the near future,” she said. “The Trade Desk will continue to go from strength to strength and I’ll be cheering the company on at every step.”

Trade Desk Windfall

Bloomberg data shows that Yang currently owns $8.54 million in Trade Desk stock, which has soared in value since it was listed on the Nasdaq in late 2016. As of late Tuesday, the company’s stock was trading at more than $300 per share.

Between January and mid-May, Yang has sold more than $4.44 million in Trade Desk stock, according to securities filings, which reveal she unloaded another $5.33 million in company shares late last year.

Yang also received nearly $4.26 million in total compensation—including almost $1.48 million in cash—from Trade Desk in 2019, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement. The pay package was a slight increase over the $4.16 million in total compensation that Yang received in 2018.

The Trade Desk stated in its 2019 proxy that Yang’s annual base salary would be raised from $475,000 to $500,000 this year.

Prior to joining the Trade Desk in 2016, Yang served as chief administrative officer and general counsel for RealD Inc., a privately held 3-D technology company, and general counsel for CityGrid Media, a digital advertising network owned by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp.

In March, the Trade Desk promoted vice president and assistant general counsel Julie Kleeman to senior vice president and deputy general counsel and elevated associate general counsel Ritesh Patel to fill Kleeman’s former in-house roles, according to their respective LinkedIn profiles. Dan Feldman has served as lead counsel for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at the Trade Desk since late 2018.

Trade Desk chief privacy officer David Wainberg, a former senior privacy counsel at Apple Inc. who joined the company in 2017, left in January to start his own Boston-based consulting firm. A Trade Desk spokesman did not respond to an inquiry about whether the company is looking to replace Wainberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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