Former IAB Boss Greg Stuart Joins Rival Trade Group

greg-stuartlGreg Stuart is reprising his role as trade group boss in the digital ad industry. Stuart, who led the Interactive Advertising Bureau to prominence at a time when online marketing was still fighting for respect, will be CEO of the struggling Mobile Marketing Association.

Stuart led the IAB from 2001, when it used donated space in CNET’s offices in New York City, to 2007. During that time he ran the trade group like a business, launching publications and high-profile events that competed with established ad industry conferences. That alienated some but was effective in driving revenue growth and membership.

Revenue generation was a particular talent. After focusing on publishers during the group’s early years, Stuart created a second tier of paid membership for technology companies seeking exposure to marketers and publishers. In one notable instance, he sought membership dues up to a year in advance. In 2003, a $5.8 million “acceleration program” used interest-free loans from 11 member companies to expand the IAB’s events business and offer sales training to members, among other projects.

According to a ClickZ analysis of the IAB’s tax filings, it generated $3.1 million in total revenue in 2003, $4.5 million in 2004 and $5.2 million in 2005. During that time it grew membership from approximately 30 to 346. Stuart’s paycheck, when he first joined, was $270,000 annually with a $75,000 bonus contingent on performance. His salary grew to $450,000 by the time he left.

Stuart faces a challenge at the MMA, since other groups including the IAB have already taken up the rallying cry of mobile and adoption is so widespread that marketers are wide awake to the opportunity. Additionally, the MMA’s previous CEO resigned almost nine months ago, since which time the trade body has announced a realignment. It now plans to focus on developing education and measurement products, and establishing best practices for the channel.

Stuart will oversee the MMA’s global operations. In a press release, he said, “My sense is that the need to evangelize the channel has changed to a need to educate brands and agencies on how to apply the reach and personal and powerful effectiveness of mobile for their brands.”

In his three-year absence from executive management, Stuart has served as an angel investor, advisor, and director to companies including Buddy Media, DataXu, Anchor Intelligence, and Clickable.

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