PRESIDENT & CEO
Charles is the President and CEO of Hilliard Advisors. He began his career a CPA with Arthur Andersen, executed over $30 billion of transactions as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley and served as President & Chief Financial Officer for NetZero/United Online and Demand Media, successfully leading both companies through $1 billion+ IPOs. Charles has extensive public capital markets, corporate governance and SEC reporting experience, including successfully appearing before the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA), the highest accounting branch of the Commission. In addition, Charles has served as a Commissioner for the state of California Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission (PIAC).
Currently, Charles serves as an advisor to CMX, a Saas-based enterprise risk management platform, and advisory director to Netki, a blockchain identity company. Recently, Charles served as an advisor to file-sharing company Dropbox and as audit committee chairman of EZTexting, a cloud-based messaging platform.
As President & CFO of Demand Media, a leading digital media company, Charles managed over 100 personnel and all aspects of accounting, finance, investor relations, legal and information technology (IT) operations. During Charles five-year tenure, the company tripled annual revenue to over $350 million, returned 5.6x to common shareholders, closed several strategic acquisitions, raised $135 million in private growth equity and, in January 2011, raised $174 million in the first US Internet IPO to achieve a market capitalization of over $1 billion since Google. Demand Media was also the first-ever venture-backed US Internet IPO to have both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters.
Previously, Charles worked as President and CFO of United Online, a leading provider of consumer services over the Internet, starting as CFO of its predecessor, NetZero in 1999. During his eight-year tenure, the company achieved a 100-fold increase in annual revenue to over $500 million, returned 16.8x to common shareholders, closed a transforming merger and four major acquisitions, raised $35 million in venture capital, $184 million in a Goldman Sachs-led IPO and $144 million in strategic equity from Qualcomm. The company was named by the Wall Street Journal the #1 performer on the NASDAQ in 2002 and became a member of the Standard & Poor’s 600 Index in 2006.
As an investment banker, Charles was involved with the successful execution of a wide variety transactions including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, hostile takeover defenses, investment grade and high yield debt, convertible debt, retail and convertible preferred stock and common stock, including IPOs. Select clients included Time Warner, Disney, Coca-Cola, Harrah’s Entertainment, Mirage Resorts, Mandalay Resorts, Primadonna Resorts, Station Casinos, Anchor Gaming, Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribe, Griffin Gaming, Western Digital, and Office Depot.
Charles earned his BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from the University of Southern California (USC) and his MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan. He is also a member of Marshall Partners for the Marshall School of Business at USC.
Mark is a Technology and Strategy Consultant helping organizations innovate and optimize their businesses. He advises firms on how to obtain exponential improvements from their technology investments. He has a track record on the design of enterprise-level software solutions such as application development, data management, machine learning and enterprise software.
Today, Mark assists firms in addressing the accelerating change in technology and how to avoid costly pitfalls. He directs teams modernizing the platforms and operations of organizations in the midst of reinventing themselves. He can bring skilled resources to bear in the areas of product management, development, engineering, and QA to solve complex, domain-specific business problems that result in breakthrough effects.
Mark also held General Manager and Partner roles at Microsoft, where he ran businesses that had $220 million in revenues.
He has MS degrees in Computer Science and Operations Research from Stanford University; he also has a PgDip from the University of Oxford (Distinction) and a B.Sc. (Honors First Class) from UBC.