New York—Larry Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, has resigned after two years on the job to return to his ad agency roots. Taking over as interim CEO is Linda Woolley, DMA's exec VP of Washington operations, who since 2008 has spearheaded the association's lobbying efforts.
Kimmel, who will serve as adviser and president emeritus during the transition, will join agency Hawkeye, Dallas, whose chairman and founder, Steven Dapper, is a former chairman of DMA. Kimmel will be working with Hawkeye on strategic growth, according to Dapper.
Matt Blumberg, the current DMA chairman, praised Kimmel for “his tireless efforts on the organization's behalf.”
“He has done a fantastic job energizing our community and expanding our reach deeper into the interactive marketing community,” Blumberg said, in a statement.
The appointment of Woolley as interim CEO reflects the association's commitment to advocacy as the industry struggles with such issues as Internet advertising privacy and battles in various states over taxing Internet product sales.
”As the head of our Washington, D.C., office and advocacy efforts, [Woolley] has an exceptional understanding of the direct marketing industry, strong relationships with both policy makers and marketing leaders, and an excellent track record managing and guiding organizations like the DMA,” Blumberg said.
“As an existing and active leader in the DMA, her appointment provides continuity and consistency as we determine the long-term needs for our association, and its mission,” he said.
Kimmel's appointment as CEO in 2010 came amid turmoil for the association. It had suffered financial losses during the recession as its conferences lost attendance and exhibitors, and had made large staff cuts. In addition to returning DMA to profitability, Kimmel stressed the need for direct marketers to embrace and integrate digital marketing channels.
Kimmel had succeeded Robert (Bob) Allen, who served six months as interim president-CEO after John A. Greco resigned in January 2010 following criticism over his operational policies.
Until 2008, Kimmel was chairman-CEO of agency G2 Direct & Digital, and its earlier incarnation Grey Direct, and later was involved in a family business until joining DMA.
Prior to Grey, he spent seven years in senior management at direct agency Draft Worldwide, now Draftfcb.