40 Under 40

Where are they now? Revisiting Ad Age's first 40-under-40 list

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The year 2006 was full of momentous occasions. The U.S. population cracked the 300 million mark, Walt Disney bought Pixar and a fledgling Facebook opened its registration to anyone over 13 with an email address. It wasn't a banner year for Pluto, which got downgraded from a full-fledged planet to a lowly "dwarf planet." But good times were in store for a young Miley Cyrus, who debuted as "Hannah Montana" on Disney Channel. Watch her original audition.

It was also the year that Ad Age published its first-ever 40-under-40 list. OK, maybe that's not as momentous as the above, but we remember it because its members have only become more impressive as time went on. And it came to mind this week as we near the deadline to enter the 2018 edition.

You can nominate someone here. But act fast, because entries must be in by Thursday 5 p.m. eastern.

The list honors those who have, either personally or as part of a team, helped to advance a business or a brand at a advertiser, agency, media, tech or marketing company in a demonstrable way within the last 12 months. One rule: The nominee must be under the age of 40 on Sept. 24, 2018.

Looking for inspiration? Consider the names on our 2006 list. It included then-37-year-old David Droga, who opened Droga5 that year. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel," he told us in his 40-under-40 profile. "We're trying to take the wheel to a different place."

Below, a few other 2006 standouts—and what they are up to now.

Scott Keogh

Then: Audi of America named the 37-year-old as its first chief marketing officer. He came from Mercedes-Benz USA, where one of his former Mercedes-Benz co-workers called him "one of the strongest cards in their deck."

Scott Keogh.
Scott Keogh. Credit: Audi

Now: Keogh is running the place: he was named President of Audi of America in 2012. The automaker credits him with leading strategic moves into new vehicle segments in the U.S. market.

Steve Chen and Chad Hurley

Then: Chen and Hurley co-founded YouTube in 2005, and by 2006 the video site was, as Ad Age described at the time, the envy of every media company from New York to L.A. "Now advertisers have a new opportunity to align their brand with the video content that our users want to see in order to engage them in a more personal and emotional way," Hurley, then 29, told Ad Age in our 40-under-40 profile. (This was, of course, long before anyone uttered the words "brand safety.")

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in 2007.
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in 2007. Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Now: Both men are probably still counting their money. Two months after our 40-under-40 profile hit, Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. Hurley used some of his money to buy a stake in the Golden State Warriors: He's part of a group that bought the franchise in 2010, and is still listed as a Warriors board member. Hurley and Chen founded the incubator Avos Systems in 2011, whose products included video app MixBit. (Safe to say it didn't go quite as well as YouTube.)

Chen left for Google Ventures in 2014 and is still listed as an advisor to the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc. now known as GV. Chen in 2016 launched a livestream food network called Nom.com, but it shut down earlier this year, VentureBeat reported.

Jen Neal

Then: At the age of 33, Neal was overseeing the Discovery Communications account for media agency PHD, then the agency's second biggest piece of business.

Now: She oversees marketing for E!, which means shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" are under her purview. In 2017 her role expanded to include executive producer duties for live events at the cable network, including its signature "Live from the Red Carpet" franchise.

Chris Kempczinski

Then: The 37-year-old was overseeing Aquafina and Lipton for Pepsi-Cola North America as its VP for noncarbonated beverages.

Now: Chris Kempczinski has Big Macs on his mind. He joined McDonald's in 2015 from Kraft Foods Group to oversee strategy, business development and was promoted last year to be U.S. president of the fast feeder, which serves Coke, not Pepsi.

Vince Hudson

Then: Hudson was on the fast track at Procter & Gamble. He became a marketing director before he was 30, and at age 35 cracked our 40-under-40 list as he took over marketing for Cover Girl.

Now: He's overseeing Diageo's largest vodka brand after being named global brand director for Smirnoff in 2016. (He decamped from P&G to Samsung in 2014 after a 20-year career at the packaged goods giant.)

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