Starcom MediaVest Group's global chief executive officer, Laura Desmond, has recently been named chair of the board of directors of the Ad Council, succeeding Debra Lee, chairman & chief executive officer of BET Networks. The council will be continuing its tradition of rotating board chairs every year between the organisation's founding sectors: media companies, advertising agencies and corporate advertisers. This means Desmond will remain board chair until June next year, when she'll be succeeded by David Christopher, vice chair of advertisers and CMO at AT&T Mobility. The vice chair of media role, meanwhile, will be filled by David Kenny, the chief executive officer of The Weather Company.
Desmond will remain board chair until June next year, when she'll be succeeded by David Christopher
The Ad Council is a a private, non-profit organisation, through which volunteers from the advertising and media industries deliver important messages to the American Public. This often takes the form of PSA campaigns, which address some of the most pressing social issues facing the country. Peggy Conlon, the president and CEO of the council is “Thrilled to announce Laura’s leadership” on the board. She praises Desmond as “One of this country’s most respected leaders in the media and advertising communities,” and feels that her “Business acumen, marketing expertise and outstanding leadership” will be instrumental in furthering their mission. It was announced recently that Conlon will be retiring at the end of the year, the search for her replacement is already underway.
Desmond is the perfect fit for the role, having served as Starcom MediaVest Group's global CEO since 2008, garnering significant new business in the last 6 years from new and existing clients, such as Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez, Kellogg’s, Honda, Walmart and Kraft Foods. With her at the helm, the group has earned more honours for its work and its staff than any other media network on the planet, with over 525 creative, media and Agency of the Year awards earned last year. It was also named “Media Network of the Year” at this Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and is the first media agency to receive recognition as a leader in the “New Interactive Landscape” by Forrester Research. She joined the Ad Council Board in 2009 and became vice chair of the organisation in 2012. Under her leadership, the organisation's pro bono work with media agencies has significantly increased.
Desmond is the perfect fit for the role, having served as Starcom MediaVest Group's global CEO since 2008, garnering significant new business in the last 6 years
Desmond is “Honoured for the opportunity to lead the Ad Council’s board,” believing that the council is an essential part of the media ecosystem. She believes the council are constantly creating inspiring, educational content, and she looks forward to the many things they will “Be able to accomplish together.” She will also relish the opportunity as the board chair to “Enhance the Ad Council’s already well-established reach and influence in the ever changing media landscape.”
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He's not pro bono, but he is pro the edge.