Companies Like Instacart and Home Depot Are in a War for Advertising Talent

  • A range of companies are on a hiring spree as they try to build advertising businesses.
  • Retailers, platforms, and delivery companies from Walmart to DoorDash are seeking people with ad and technical expertise.
  • Insider is tracking all the big hires across these companies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ad professionals have never been more in demand as a new set of companies guns for a piece of the advertising business.

Delivery services and platforms like Instacart, Drizly, and TikTok are hiring top ad execs as they build new ad businesses. Retailers like Walmart, Macy’s, Walgreens, and Home Depot that are setting up retail media platforms to offset thin retail margins. And Amazon is gobbling up adtech expertise to sell a variety of ad formats to brands.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June that the US advertising, public relations and related jobs have grown for the past five months after sinking in January.

They’re hiring from media companies, tech giants, and ad agencies, which are already in a hiring crunch.

“It is a job seekers’ market — agencies are trying to compete with agencies, brands and clients,” said Barbara Tejada, the owner of advertising recruiter Mighty Recruiting. “There’s so many jobs out there that it’s hard to get talent.”

Here are 12 companies, listed alphabetically, and the big ad hires they’ve made recently.


Alan Moss Amazon

Alan Moss, VP of global ad sales at Amazon


Amazon is the third-biggest digital ad company behind Facebook and Google. Most of its ad business comes from ad placements that promote sellers’ products in search listings, but it’s making a big pitch to sell advertising to brands that don’t sell products on Amazon. 

To that end, Amazon has hired a string of heavyhitters from adtech companies in the past six months:

  • Director of product management Sam Cox, formerly at Google
  • Director of product management Jamie Fellows, formerly at Amobee
  • Director of advertising science Neal Richter, formerly at SpotX
  • Director of ad technology of physical stores Steven Truxal, formerly at Xandr


DoorDash Biker

A DoorDash biker


DoorDash has an ads and promotions team that helps restaurants create offers like discounts, promotions and branded packaging through the Marketplace app. And in April, it posted a job for an ad sales leader. 

DoorDash’s ads and promotions team includes senior director Erin Butler and VP Toby Espinosa, and in the past year, it’s hired:

  • Director of ads and promotions Katie Daleo, formerly at Jet
  • Senior software engineer Grace Chin, formerly at Pinterest
  • Strategy and operations manager Camila Koziatek, formerly at Accenture Interactive



Drizly is an e-commerce site that allows people to buy alcohol from local liquor stores.

Gabe Souza/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Alcohol delivery app Drizly sells ads where brands can pay to promote products in listings. A search for “vodka” in the app shows a banner ad at the top for Grey Goose vodka, for example.

The red-hot app was acquired by Uber for $1.1 billion in February and has made a couple notable marketing and advertising hires in the past year:

  • Amit Patel, SVP of strategic partnerships and monetization, formerly at NBCUniversal’s Peacock
  • Sara Ratto, product manager of advertising technology, formerly at Wayfair


Daniel Slotwiner, Vice President, Measurement & Product Marketing, GoPuff

Daniel Slotwiner, VP of measurement and product marketing at Gopuff


Gopuff rivals DoorDash and Instacart for delivery of products like food and household items. It was valued at $8.9 billion after raising $1.15 billion in March.

Gopuff pitches ad formats like sponsored products to brands that are sold on the app; it also sells programmatic ads.

Gopuff outsources some of its ad sales but has hired two longtime Facebook ad execs to head its ad business:

  • VP of measurement and product marketing Daniel Slotwiner
  • VP of Gopuff Marketing Solutions Andrew Berman

Home Depot

Home Depot

A Home Depot store

Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Home Depot has had a retail media arm called Retail Media+ and pitches its first-party data to sell ad placements within The Home Depot’s website and app.

Home Depot has tested a self-serve platform that lets brands buy and manage their own campaigns and has hired aggressively to build its advertising business.

Recent hires include:

  • National director of new business for Retail Media+ Robert Brown, formerly at Publicis Group
  • Senior director of digital monetization Matt Romano, formerly at Tastemade
  • Manager of Retail Media+ Samantha Yeung, formerly at Facebook
  • Senior analyst of Retail Media+ strategy Veronica Ulicny, formerly at Vert Digital


01 Seth Dallaire, Chief Revenue Officer, Instacart (3) copy

Seth Dallaire, Instacart’s CRO


Instacart wants a big piece of the $17 billion that eMarketer estimates brands spent on e-commerce advertising last year and is reportedly eyeing $1 billion in ad revenue by 2022.

The company has a public listing in the works and recently poached top Facebook exec Fidji Simo as CEO in a sign of its big ad ambitions.

Its advertising business is led by former Amazon advertising exec Seth Dallaire, who helped build the e-commerce giant into the No. 3 digital ad company behind Facebook and Google.

Some of Instacart’s advertising hires over the past year include:

  • VP of ad sales Ryan Mayward, formerly at Amazon
  • Senior director of media analytics Abhi Jain, formerly at Criteo
  • Product manager Bryan Rippee, formerly at LiveRamp
  • Ads software engineer Aaron Low, formerly at Google


Nancy Wine kroger

Nancy Winé, VP of advertising sales at Kroger’s 84.51°


Kroger pitches data from its big loyalty program of 60 million households from its chains like Gerbes, Harris Teeter, and King Soopers to advertisers.

The grocery giant helps brands run email campaigns and promotions and gives them shopper data. Kroger also works with platforms like Roku and Pinterest to show its ads drive sales.

In May 2020, Kroger’s precision marketing arm called 84.51° poached Amazon ad exec Nancy Winé to lead ad sales. Her hires this year include: 

  • Director of privacy and media compliance Susan Fletcher, formerly at Amazon
  • Director Anthony Siler, formerly at Amazon
  • Owned and operated advertising product director Jason Comack, formerly at Starcom
  • VP of data science Anthony Kilili, formerly at Dunnhumby



A Macy’s store

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Macy’s created an advertising arm called Macy’s Media Network about a year ago, and as of February, it’s doing $35 million in business. The program uses Macy’s loyalty card data about shoppers to target ads on its online and physical stores and on publishers’ websites.

Macy’s Media Network has hired a mix of ad talent with retail, agency, and ad sales experience, including:

  • Director Neal Sheridan, formerly at Triad Retail
  • Senior leader of ad sales Stephen Turrise, formerly at Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Media and audience strategy lead Nicole Bruno, formerly at 22Squared
  • Senior sales lead Lauren Kosiba, formerly at Magnite


Lee Brown VP, Head of Global Ad Sales, Spotify

Lee Brown, VP and head of global ad business at Spotify

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Spotify

Spotify has long sold ads that run in its free tier of music-streaming products but has signaled its growing advertising ambitions with the hire of longtime ad sales exec Lee Brown in 2019.

Since then, Spotify has pushed into video and podcast advertising as more radio ad dollars move towards programmatic advertising.

This year, Spotify has hired ad execs to build relationships with ad agencies and brands, including:

  • Head of ad product design Leonardo De La Rocha, formerly at Intuit
  • US agency partnerships leader Sal Candela, formerly at Omnicom Media Group
  • Group product manager Sonali Nath, formerly at Criteo
  • Global director of creative studio Archie Bell, formerly at OneX


Krystle Watler at Adcolor

Krystle Watler, head of creative agency partnerships in North America at TikTok

Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Adcolor

TikTok has rolled out new tools for branded content and influencer marketing over the past year to advertisers but it’s most recently made a big push for ad execs.

Its hired execs from media companies like Vice Media and Condé Nast as well as platforms like Google. It’s also hired communications people with advertising experience.

Here are some of TikTok’s recent advertising hires:

  • Head of North American creative agency partnerships Krystle Watler, formerly at Vice.
  • Global head of native and brand advertising solutions Ludovic de Valon, formerly at Google
  • Head of North American business-to-business communications and industry relations Sloane Humphrey, formerly at Powell Communications
  • Global head of branding portfolio, pricing strategy and operations, Nandeeta Seth, formerly at Google
  • Vertical director of CPG and global business solutions Amy Oelkers, formerly at Condé Nast
  • Vertical director of entertainment and gaming and global business solutions Nikao Yang, formerly at Lucidity


Luke Kigel, VP of Walgreens integrated media and head of Walgreens Advertising Group

Luke Kigel, VP of Walgreens integrated media and head of Walgreens Advertising Group


In December, Walgreens launched an advertising arm that centers around data from the chain’s 100 million loyalty card program. Advertisers can use the data to buy targeted ads on Walgreens’ own properties or co-branded programmatic and social ads.

Walgreens Advertising Group is led by Luke Kigel, a former ad exec at Johnson & Johnson and agencies Universal McCann and OMD.

In the past six months, Walgreens Advertising Group has hired ad sales and revenue execs including:

  • Head of revenue Jonathan Lustig, formerly at TripleLift
  • Senior marketing manager Melissa Leslie, formerly at Foursquare
  • Senior manager of media execution Christine Reddy, formerly at NextDoor


walmart worker mask

A Walmart worker

Courtesy of Walmart

The world’s biggest retailer has long sold ads to brands like packaged goods but lately it’s been building that business to diversify its revenue.

Walmart rebranded its ad business Walmart Connect in January to compete against Amazon as well as traditional ad sellers like NBCUniversal and plans to roll out a branded demand-side platform this year.

Walmart has been on a hiring spree, particularly for people with adtech and agency experience. Hires in the past couple of months include:

  • Head of agency and adtech Scott Spaulding, formerly at MediaMath
  • Head of creative Gina Ballenger, formerly at Twitter
  • Lead of agency Meghan Garrity, formerly at Starcom
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