Dissident members elected to DMA board

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San Diego—Reform was the watchword of the day Sunday at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference and exhibition, as the association unexpectedly made room on its newly elected board for a slate of dissident members.

The new reform-oriented board members are led by incumbent Gerry Pike, who had led a proxy fight to bring a reform agenda before the DMA.

“This is most gratifying to me,” Pike said in an interview with BtoB. “As soon as the board heard the message from the membership for reform, they responded without hesitation. There also has been a unanimous motion to put together a committee to review and revise our bylaws.”

In August, Pike, president of direct marketing company DMSA Inc., was the only board member not to be renominated for another three-year term, which he said was due to his criticism of what he saw as DMA bylaw violations, lofty executive compensation and inadequate political advocacy. He then launched a campaign to assemble proxies from DMA members to form a strong voting block committed to reform and on-site nomination of board members.

A battle over votes turned out to be unnecessary, as incoming board officers moved to accommodate unhappy members.

Three existing board seats were made available for the reform block. In addition to Pike, the reform block board members are Matt Blumberg, CEO of e-mail deliverability company Return Path, and Chris Bradley, CEO of home fashions company Cuddledown. Three other board positions were created as “adjunct board members” for additional member input.

Incoming chairman Eugene Raitt pledged to champion the concerns of reform-minded members.

“My agenda as vice chair was always change and reform,” said Raitt, senior VP-accident and health at Allied World Assurance Co. “Nothing will be sacrosanct.”

In addition, outgoing chairman Kelly B. Browning, who remains on the board, pledged to look at executive compensation. According to The NonProfit Times, DMA President John A. Greco earned $768,748 in fiscal year 2008, plus $128,194 in contributions to benefit and deferred compensation plans. The publication cited as its source an Internal Revenue Service form 990 filing.

Other newly named officers are: vice chairman David S. Williams, president-CEO of Merkle Inc.; treasurer G. Steven Dapper, chairman of hawkeye; and secretary Brian Wolfe, exec VP-consumer marketing and sales at Time Inc.

Other new board members include: Ken A. Dawson, CMO of Infocision; Arjan Dijk, director-global acquisition marketing at Google; Bill L. Fairfield, CEO of infoGroup; Edwin P. Garrubbo, CEO of Creative Commerce; John B. Kahan, general manager-business and customer intelligence at the online services division of Microsoft Corp.; John A. Meyer, president-CEO of Acxiom; Gian-Carlo Peressutti, senior VP-public affairs at RR Donnelley; Nicholas P. Staheyeff, VP-CFO international of eBay International; David R. Verklin, CEO at Canoe Ventures; and David A. Williams, president-CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

The adjunct board members are: Suresh Mathai, CEO of ContinuumGlobal Inc.; John Papalia, president-CEO at Statlistics; and Charles Prescott, chairman of the consultative committee of the Universal Postal Union.

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