Jeff Johnson / Co-Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Johnson serves as one of two Co-CEOs of Covario and Rio SEO. Along with his longtime colleague Co-CEO Mike Gullaksen and CFO/COO Claire Long, the leadership team is responsible for the overall strategic direction and performance of Covario. Jeff in particular focuses on worldwide client service, business development, and marketing operations, including new client acquisition, customer satisfaction, analyst relations, and corporate branding.
Jeff came to Covario in early 2009, bringing with him a long history of working with global enterprise brands in the digital marketing space. Prior to joining Covario, he spent many years at iCrossing as a senior vice president and managing director across various departments. Previously, Jeff served in leadership roles at AOL Time Warner, Homebuilder.com (a division of Homestore.com), and Trader Advertising Media.
He earned a BS in Business Administration from Arizona State University.
Michael Gullaksen / Co-Chief Executive Officer
In November 2013, Mike Gullaksen was promoted to Co-CEO of Covario and Rio SEO, along with his longtime colleague Jeff Johnson. As Co-CEO Mike is responsible for the company’s overall operational excellence, revenue growth, and client satisfaction.
Prior to his current role, Mike served as senior vice president and co-managing director, leading Covario’s paid and earned media teams in delivering the industry’s most forward-thinking search, social, and content marketing solutions. Mike has more than 14 years of specialized experience in SEO, paid search, social media and analytics. He has built a reputation for creating award-winning search teams, and developing proven search strategies that have helped numerous Global 1,000 clients grow their online business and strengthen their online strategy.
Under Mike’s watch, Covario was named the Search Agency of the Year by OMMA a record three years in a row (2013-11). It was also ranked by Advertising Age magazine among the ten largest U.S. search agencies (and the fastest growing of the largest ones). In addition, Covario was the only independent firm selected for inclusion in the last two Forrester Research Wave reports of leading search marketing agencies, which were published in 2012 and 2011. Over the course of 2013, Covario received its highest Net Promoter Scores ever – a key indicator of overall client satisfaction.
Mike also serves on the Board of Directors for SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization), helping drive clarity for today’s digital marketing professionals. He was named by BtoB Magazine in 2013 to its selective group of “Who’s Who in Search and Digital Marketing.” He was also recently named as one of the Top “40 Under 40” Marketing Executives by Direct Marketing News.
Before joining Covario, Mike worked at iCrossing for nine years, where he was the senior vice president of search. Mike holds a BS in Business Management from Arizona State University.
Claire Long / Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Claire Long serves as both chief operating and chief financial officer of Covario. Her role encompasses executive oversight of finance, accounting and risk management, as well as human resources, legal, information technology and marketing, in support of both the Covario search marketing agency and recently spun-off Rio SEO software business.
Claire has more than 20 years of financial leadership experience, including senior positions in the publishing, software, analytics, semiconductor, digital media, specialty retail, resort and telecommunications industries. Previously, she was the CFO of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Prior to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Claire served as the CFO of Visual Sciences (formerly WebSideStory), where she was instrumental in managing its successful acquisition by Omniture, Inc.
Claire earned a BS in Business Administration from the University of Hartford.
Bill Connard / VP Local Search Solutions
Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Top Local Search, Inc., of San Diego, which was acquired by Rio SEO in May 2012. Bill is a serial entrepreneur and successful business executive with expertise in database management, search engine optimization and web site programming. He has many years of experience building and developing multi-location distribution channels and partnerships.
Prior to forming Top Local Search, Bill was a co-founder and systems architect for Hero Industries, another San Diego-based firm that provided location-based services leveraging SEO and SaaS technologies.