Meet the talent: Francesca Lerario, Managing Director

Place of residence: Bergamo

Position: Managing Director Southern Europe Ogury

Please describe a day in your life

My typical day starts with breakfast with my daughter Frida. After dropping her off at school, I head to work, where my day is filled with numerous client meetings. Indeed, my job primarily revolves around building and maintaining relationships, which I prefer to do in person. That means I frequently travel to Madrid and Barcelona to oversee business activities, with meetings often also taking place over lunch and dinner. Finding the right balance between personal life and work is not easy, but my partner provides great support.

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them

I am currently working on educating advertisers, agencies and publishers about how to effectively reach their target audiences in a market that is moving away from cookies. The privacy wave is unstoppable – Safari and Firefox have already deprecated third-party cookies and Google Chrome is expected to do so in 2025. This is why now is the time to make the existence of cookieless targeting solutions known. Unlike other AdTech companies that rely solely on contextual and semantic targeting, which results in limited reach, Ogury fuses these traditional methods with persona-based targeting, guaranteeing advertisers unparalleled precision and performance.

Also, our personified advertising solution harnesses zero-party data voluntarily shared by consumers, ensuring privacy-safe advertising without compromising precision and scale. Because of this, our targeting method is scalable and does not depend on the unilateral decisions of tech companies or institutional regulators. Today, my whole focus is on showing brands, agencies, and publishers how they can be cookieless, respect users’ privacy, and simultaneously engage their target audience effectively.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days?

If I had to mention influential players, I would think about companies first, particularly the  GAFAMs. Through the inventiveness of their founders and constant investment in research and development, these giants have shaped the advertising industry into what it is today.

If you could pick one app/product/project existing now that you wish you were involved in, what would it be?

I would have loved to be involved in projects centred around building Artificial Intelligence. It is such a groundbreaking innovation that impacts several aspects of our professional lives and will change the way we work. I see it every day at Ogury, where our use of AI surpasses much of the industry’s. With our multi-year head start on privacy-safe targeting, analysis of cookieless inventory, and embedding AI techniques within our supporting products, AI and machine learning play an important role in our success. We will continue to expand our investment into these capabilities.

How do you see technology evolving in the next ten years?

Privacy and Artificial Intelligence are the two trends that will drive technological innovation in the future. We have seen how the growing demand for privacy has generated regulatory measures to prevent uncontrolled data collection, prompting tech companies to remove cookies from their browsers.

The evolution of Artificial Intelligence over the next decade will play a central role in shaping the future of technology, impacting many fields. From helping maximize performance under competitive supply and demand conditions to ranking publisher content and developing ad creatives, it is only by understanding the potential of this technology that we will be able to seize all the opportunities it presents while also addressing the risks of technological unemployment it could pose.

What would you like the industry to look like in ten years?

From a user perspective, I would like our industry to have learned how to customize the user journey while fully respecting their privacy – no longer making them feel spied on or monitored.

From the viewpoint of advertisers, agencies, and publishers, I expect to see a surge in self-service platforms for buying, selling, and optimizing ad space – supported by Artificial Intelligence.

Additionally, I foresee a broader use of technologies that can improve the buying experience, such as augmented reality, which has been discussed for some time but still has limited real-world application.

What are the three characteristics you have that make you successful in tech?

First, I would say the nature of the technology I advocate for is an innovative solution that puts user privacy first thanks to its access to zero-party data. Then, our commitment to innovation tailored to the real strategic needs of the clients I meet every day is definitely something that contributes to our success. Finally, the insights we gain from our data enable us to truly understand target audiences and engage them with a brand’s messaging. That said, I would add a fourth criterion: sustainability, both human and environmental. Enabling the team to share in the successes we achieve and taking action to protect the environment allow us to work better, generating a competitive advantage and, therefore, success.

What is the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your career?

It is finding the right balance between professional and private life.

What is your greatest achievement up until today?

Leading Ogury, through collaborative teamwork, of course, to become a major player in the AdTech world and a trusted partner for publishers, advertisers and customers.

What do you wish yourself with respect to your career? What is your next goal?

I truly love my job and the team I work with, and I hope that together, we will contribute to Ogury’s continued growth so that it cements its position as one of AdTech’s leading players worldwide. On a broader scale, I aspire to grow, take on new challenges and explore new markets, always with the aim of making our industry more mindful of people’s privacy while developing tools that make advertising profitable. After all, without advertising, there would be no free Internet, would there?

What do non-tech people around you (family, friends) think you do?

I admit it was not easy to explain to my parents my decision to leave the comfortable banking field for the AdTech industry – the most innovative and technologically advanced sector within advertising. However, even older demographics are now active web users, engaging with social media and online ads compared to earlier times. In short, my profession has become more relatable. Now, I can simply say that I work in online advertising, where I utilize data to deliver ads to relevant audiences while paying particular attention to respecting their privacy.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible, but I would have loved to have dinner with Sergio Marchionne, the visionary manager who radically transformed the Fiat Group. His biography taught me how he pioneered a novel approach by seamlessly blending leadership and management. He advocated for guiding leaders through collaborative planning, problem-solving, and collective decision-making, turning managers into true leaders. Though I never had the chance to meet him, he inspired me to maintain a relentless drive for improvement and to amplify my team’s achievements.

Meet the talent, Francesca Lerario, Managing Director                                   
Meet the talent, Francesca Lerario, Managing Director                                   

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?

I owe a great deal to Jean Canzoneri, Ogury’s co-founder when it comes to developing my professional abilities. He is a brilliant individual whose exceptional talent shines in everything he undertakes. Throughout my career at various companies, he has consistently motivated and inspired me with his infectious enthusiasm, drive to innovate, and ability to bring his ideas to life.

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

I have always harbored a passion for beauty in all its forms, from design to fashion. As a child, I envisioned pursuing a creative profession like architecture. Although my career path led me in a different direction, my appreciation for beauty has remained. I believe that by making ourselves and the environment we inhabit more beautiful, we can better navigate the everyday challenges we face.

How has Covid-19 changed the way people view technological development?

The COVID-19 pandemic has normalized using digital tools to manage contacts and relationships, something we did not have before. We realized that these tools’ flexibility allowed us to use our time better, making remote work a regular part of our daily routine. However, the quality of relationships fostered through in-person meetings remains crucial in my work, and I could never give that up.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.