Growing Cambridge technology start-up Bluefin Labs Inc. has appointed advertising industry veteran JP Maheu as its new chief executive officer, the company said Wednesday.

The former Publicis Groupe executive replaces Deb Roy, the company’s co-founder and a tenured faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. Roy took a leave of absence from MIT to run the company and plans on returning to MIT in January. He will stay on as Bluefin chairman even after returning to his academic work.

Since it was founded in 2008, Bluefin technology has been used by more than 40 top US television networks to gauge what is being said about their shows across various social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

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The company raised $12 million in investment funding in January from Time Warner Investments, SoftBank Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Lerer Ventures.

Roy said in a release that Maheu was selected to continue growing the company because of his deep experience in digital advertising. In addition to Publicis, Maheu has held top positions at Razorfish and Ogilvy & Mather.