The Interactive Advertising Bureau UK is looking for a well-known marketing industry figure to succeed outgoing chief executive Danny Meadows-Klue, as it steps up its campaign to win a greater share of marketing budgets for online media.
Any appointment would be of similar standing to that of Richard Eyre, who became IAB chairman in 2003. Eyre, former chief executive of ITV and Capital Radio and at one time a contender for the BBC director- general’s position, brought considerable extra clout to the IAB in its promotion of interactive advertising.
Last week, Meadows-Klue, 33, shocked many in the interactive world – including most of the IAB’s own ruling council – when he announced plans to quit in the new year. However, he says he had been discussing his future with Eyre for about six months.
Meadows-Klue will help to recruit his successor. He adds: “Ideally, we want someone who is a classically trained marketer, and someone who is familiar to the advertising industry.”
His departure has sparked rumours of a falling out with the IAB council. Insiders admit that some council members think a different kind of leadership is needed now that interactive advertising has “come of age”.
However, all concerned dismiss suggestions that Meadows-Klue was forced out. He says: “It was probably more from my side than theirs. I never saw myself running a trade body forever. I always saw myself going when we overtook one of the mainstream media – and we’re roaring past radio.”
Meadows-Klue will continue to serve as a non-executive member of the IAB UK board, and as chief executive of IAB Europe. He will also be running his own business, Digital Strategy Consulting (DSC), which he set up in 2000, shortly before taking on the IAB chief executive role. He says he has had to turn down significant amounts of work because of potential conflicts, but now, with the boom in interactive advertising, “I’d like to earn a few bob.”
Roots in electronic media
Danny Meadows-Klue has been closely associated with the IAB UK since it was founded in 1997. He started his career in traditional print publishing with United News & Media in 1992, soon switching to electronic publishing. In 1995, he joined The Daily Telegraph’s award-winning internet service, The Electronic Telegraph, as a product manager. By 2000, he was its publisher and also a director of Hollinger Telegraph New Media. He left to join NBC as a European vice-president, before taking up the full-time role as the IAB’s first chief executive in 2000.
Interactive industry insiders say he has been a major factor in the phenomenal growth of interactive advertising in the UK since the late Nineties. In the first quarter of 1998, total online ad spend was &£3.4m: by the end of the second quarter of 2004, it had reached &£134.7m, with the moving annual total for the 12 months to the end of October 2004 topping &£500m for the first time.