Columnist Rothenberg to Fill Stuart’s Shoes at IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau chosen advertising and media columnist Randall Rothenberg to man the helm for the organization as it treads increasingly multi-media waters. Rothenberg, who will replace longtime president and CEO Greg Stuart, was chosen from an extensive list of contenders, according to insiders.

Rothenberg has been serving as senior director of intellectual capital at global strategy and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, where he has been responsible for the company’s thought leadership operation. Before that, Rothenberg held the CMO position at Booz Allen. Ad industry readers will recognize Rothenberg’s face and name from his Advertising Age column, as well as previous editorial and writing stints with The New York Times and Wired.

“It’s his familiarity and adeptness with the media space as a whole,” that brought the IAB to choose Rothenberg for the group’s lead role, said IAB chairman and CEO Jim Spanfeller. ‘”He’s well aware of the tumult and change in the media world; he’s been a chronicler of it and a studier of it,” added Spanfeller. “Randy brings a lot of senior level strategic thinking to the game.”

Although several hopefuls from “a great, great field of candidates” were evaluated for the position, IAB board member and 24/7 Real Media CEO David Moore told ClickZ News, “I can tell you we were looking for someone who was very well-versed in the media landscape both on and offline…at the chief marketing officer level.”

Indeed, marketers and agencies increasingly view interactive media as an integral component of all media offerings. Thus, the ability to speak the languages of traditional and online media has become an imperative requirement for any leader of such an organization.

As a former CMO himself, Rothenberg believes he has “the experience, I have the relationships, and I have the background.” He added, “I know the challenges that CMOs face….Building bridges to the CMOs is vitally important.”

Rothenberg, who said the IAB’s offer was “too good to resist,” noted he expects to continue to build on the foundation Stuart constructed. “You don’t want to take that down any notches,” he continued.

“We’ve always been big believers in understanding traditional media,” said IAB SVP and GM Sheryl Draizen, who added, “We believe [Rothenberg has] got a great background to help the IAB’s mission.”

The president and CEO will begin his new role January 8, according to Draizen, who said Stuart will assist during the transition phase.

Since the business-minded Stuart took the trade group’s leadership position in late 2001, it’s gone from less than 50 members to over 300, and created several new revenue streams in addition to member dues, including its conferences, Media Credit System reporting and a surprisingly profitable Web site Job Board which is poised to garner six figures annually, according to Draizen.

Stuart, who announced his planned departure from the IAB in August, has become a larger-than-life character in the online ad industry. He plans on rejoining the private sector, and the face of the organization will likely be altered as a result of his leaving and Rothenberg moving in.

“People are going to want to compare the two of them,” said Draizen, continuing, “Greg is a certain type of CEO, and I believe Randy will be a different type of CEO.”

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