Industry Moves: Tumri Hires Former Yahoo Exec Jeff McCombs As CFO

In a high-profile hire, online-advertising startup Tumri has named former Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) executive Jeff McCombs as chief financial officer. McCombs was previously senior vice president of business operations at Yahoo and had also served as chief of staff to former Yahoo president Susan Decker, who left Yahoo as part of the company’s management shakeup in January. McCombs stayed on at Yahoo until last month as part of the transition to the new regime. In an interview with, McCombs said he had already been considering joining Tumri prior to Decker’s departure. “I wasn’t looking to leave Yahoo, but as conversations with (Tumri CEO Calvin Lui) continued it became more and more interesting and I could no longer pass up the opportunity,” he said. Lui and McCombs have known each other for more than 15 years — going back to their investment banking days.

Tumri, which has raised $16.5 million in venture financing, lets advertisers target their online display ads by changing components of ads based on who is looking at them and how the different components are performing. For instance, with Tumri’s technology, the same ad could show a different image when it is loaded in a different geographic area, said Lui. The service went live a year ago, and clients include big advertisers like Sears, HP and Lenovo.

Display has seen better days. Marketers have been spending increasingly fewer dollars on display ads because many of them perceive the returns to be greater with search. McCombs said he was excited by the possibility of improving the relevance of display ads. “If you can make display advertising perform better, more transparently … significantly more dollars would flow into display — that’s what search did well,” he said.