Criteo's former regional SEA-Pacific lead Alban Villani joins Appier to propel Europe expansion

Criteo's former regional MD, Southeast Asia, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Alban Villani, has joined AI company Appier as SVP of global sales, EMEA and SEA. In the newly created international role for Appier based in France, Villani (pictured right) will work with brands and agencies to help them apply deep learning to find new audiences for their products and services. Villani will also be leading Appier’s expansion into Europe.

He was previously with Criteo for more than six years, first joining as regional commercial director, Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, according to his LinkedIn. Before that, Villani worked at FYC Studio, FY Digital Agency, Amdocs, Canal+ and NBCUniversal.

According to Villani, he has watched Appier grow from an AI startup into a technology powerhouse. He added that the demand for self-learning digital advertising optimisation tools is borderless, and has never been clearer.

“European marketers have an appetite for solutions that can translate vast amounts of data into actionable predictions. Appier's platforms will allow them to acquire customers and engage audiences across devices and channels - paid and owned - while protecting user privacy. I have heard many marketers asking for a full-funnel solution with deep data insights, and we are glad to be able to provide one to them," he said.

Meanwhile, Appier has also appointed Michelle Wong (pictured left) as SVP of enterprise sales, after almost 24 years in leadership at IBM where she was general manager of technical support services ASEAN. At Appier, Wong will lead the global enterprise commercial team and is responsible for propelling the adoption of Appier's enterprise-grade AI and data science platforms. She will be based across Singapore and Taiwan. Appier's spokesperson said Wong is the first individual fully dedicated to enterprise sales. During her time at IBM as GM of technical support services, ASEAN, Wong led the sales, operations and delivery team and was responsible for the ASEAN P&L for her business unit. 

The announcement of new leadership and European expansion follow Appier's recent round of series D funding of US$80 million. Appier has received a total of US$162m in funding from global investors including Sequoia, Softbank, and LINE. The most recent capital injection is earmarked to drive global growth, attract the best talent worldwide and super-charge product innovation.

Chih-Han Yu, co-founder and CEO of Appier said the company is at a critical moment to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation and increase online efficiency by leveraging AI technology. "We are committed to bringing our solutions to more customers in Asia Pacific and Europe who are serious about improving customer engagement to drive business growth. Villani and Wong are both proven leaders in global business, and are helping Appier's clients apply AI and deep learning to meet and exceed their business goals while growing and mentoring stellar teams of international professionals," he added.

Separately, with Villani stepping down from his regional MD, Southeast Asia, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan role at Criteo, the company named Taranjeet Singh managing director, SEA and India. Criteo's spokesperson told Marketing that Singh was handed the newly created role to focus on Southeast Asia and India given his expertise and experience in these two markets to further drive the growth. Meanwhile, Colin Barnard, commercial director for Criteo’s Australia and New Zealand, continues to oversee ANZ. He has been with the company since February 2019. Meanwhile, Jeffery Zheng is overseeing Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong as managing director for Criteo Greater China.