OPA Names New Officers

The Online Publishers Association (OPA) has named Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel, as chairman.

“With the collective skill and wisdom of our entire team, we will address the dramatic growth in online advertising, new delivery platforms, opportunities with audio and video and much more,” Wilson said in a statement.

Wilson launched weather.com in 1995, and became president and CEO of The Weather Channel Interactive unit before taking over as company president, overseeing TV and interactive businesses. Given her background, OPA VP Pam Horan believes Wilson is well suited to lead online publishers through today’s increasingly multi-channel media opportunities.

“At the Weather Channel, she went from leading the interactive side of the business to being president of the entire organization. Her experience reflects the increasingly vital role that quality online publishers are playing in the overall media landscape,” Horan said.

Other new OPA officers, all appointed for a one-year term, include Caroline Little, CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, who will serve as vice chair. Former OPA president Michael Zimbalist, who left in December to become VP of research & development operations at The New York Times Co., will serve as treasurer. The organization still hasn’t hired a new president to replace Zimbalist.

Wilson takes the reins from Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital, who will remain on OPA’s executive committee. Other at-large executive committee members are Barry Briggs, president and COO of CNET Networks; Doug McCormick, chairman and CEO of iVillage; Martin Nisenholtz, SVP of digital operations at The New York Times Co. and founding chairman of the OPA; and David Payne, SVP and general manager of CNN.com.

The OPA’s stated mission is to advance the interests of online publishers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. Since its founding in 2001, the trade organization has grown its membership to 45 companies. The group has taken a role in shaping legislation that could affect online publishers, including 2005’s SPY-ACT, which at one point aimed to ban all cookies. It also maintains an Internet Activity Index to track consumer activity across communications, content, commerce, and search segments.

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