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H. ROBERT WIENTZEN, PRESIDENT & CEO OF THE DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION, ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RETIRE
NEW YORK, December 16, 2003 Ė The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today announced that H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO of the Association since 1996, plans to retire on July 1, 2004. Wientzen recently informed The DMA Board of Directors of his plans to step down after almost eight years at the helm of the Association and today announced his decision to The DMA staff.
An executive search committee composed of current and former DMA Board members has been formed to identify Wientzenís successor.
Wientzen, who will be 65 in August 2004, has been asked to continue to serve The DMA through the end of 2004 to ensure an orderly and efficient transition once a successor is named.
A marketing veteran with over 30 years of experience, Wientzen was appointed president & chief executive officer of The DMA in September 1996. In that capacity, he is responsible to The DMA Board of Directors and oversees all facets of the Associationís work. Prior to his appointment, he was a 20-year DMA member, serving six of those years as a member of The DMA Board.
As CEO, Wientzen has aggressively expanded The DMA, whose membership has grown nearly 47 percent since September 1996. In 1997, The DMA founded its first chapter; today, there are seven chapters across the U.S. Reflecting the growth of the Internet as a marketing channel, The DMA in 1998 acquired the Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM), and the next year acquired the Internet Alliance (IA), making The DMA the largest organization committed to the development and growth of Internet marketing and electronic commerce. In 2000, The DMA acquired the National Federation of Nonprofits, which was renamed The DMA Nonprofit Federation.
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In addition to expanding The DMAís corporate portfolio, Wientzen also expanded the voice of the association with constant and credible exposure in all of the major and trade news outlets. He has consistently carried the message of direct and interactive marketingís power and reach and defended the industry vigorously when it came under attack.
Prior to his DMA appointment, Wientzen served as CEO/Chairman of Advanced Promotion Technologies, Inc. (APT). He took on the challenge of launching APT after a 27-year career with marketing giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of The DMAís founding member companies. At P&G, he pioneered the companyís early direct marketing efforts, facilitated the development of its consumer database, orchestrated P&G promotions, and launched several catalogs for P&G.
Statement of H. Robert Wientzen
"Anyone who knows me will know that retiring was not an easy decision for me to make," said Wientzen today. "While our industry and The DMA have faced many challenges since I came onboard in 1996, itís also been a period of unprecedented growth, international expansion, and technological advancement Ė most profoundly the emergence of the Internet as a marketing channel for our members, large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, here and around the globe. As CEO of The DMA, I have been able to witness these exciting changes first hand and help influence these historic marketing shifts. I have immensely enjoyed every minute Ė even the challenges."
"However, I made a commitment to my wife Lucille and our family that I would retire when I hit 65," Wientzen said. "Itís time to spend more time with our three grandchildren, with whom I donít spend enough time. Also, Lucille and I are looking forward to traveling together."
Long active in charitable causes in his adopted hometown of Cincinnati, Wientzen also said he looks forward to rededicating a portion of his time to nonprofit service organizations that cater to children as well as serving on corporate boards.
"As I prepare to retire, I am personally gratified that I will leave The DMA with an expanded membership base, significantly greater financial resources, and a professional staff that is highly respected by members of the association as well as industry peers," Wientzen said. "In addition, The DMA now enjoys a stronger voice in Washington, the states, and overseas in matters relating to both the new world of electronic marketing and traditional direct marketing."
"Given the roots of the association, it is no small comfort that I am leaving at a time when The DMA has been able to help create a stable postage climate that could see postal rates unchanged for the next three years," said Wientzen. Under his leadership, The DMA also has been a vocal advocate for postal reform legislation.
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Statement of the Chairman of The DMA Board
Commenting on Wientzenís retirement, Becky Jewett, president of Norm Thompson Outfitters and Chairman of The DMA Board of Directors, said, "Bob has successfully steered The DMA through a period of unprecedented opportunities and challenges. From his leadership in bringing The DMA into the Internet world to his foresight in expanding the Association through the acquisition of several subsidiaries and his business acumen in finding new conference programming opportunities that serve to educate our members, Bobís vigor will be missed."
"Bob should also be commended for his perseverance and commitment to ĎDoing The Right Thingí for consumers and marketers alike during some of the most trying times the industry has ever faced," said Jewett.
"Recently, Bob successfully headed off a potential disaster during the 2001 holiday season when the anthrax-in-the-mail attacks might have scared millions of customers away from remote shopping. He also showed tremendous leadership by achieving near unanimity from the industry in voluntarily adhering to the FTCís do-not-call registry when court decisions had temporarily rendered it unenforceable. In both cases, his unique ability to rally the far-flung direct marketing industry to do the right thing for its customers and for its long-term well-being made us proud to be associated with The DMA.
"Under Bobís guidance," Jewett said, "The DMA has increased its presence and clout with legislators and regulators while achieving some major legislative victories for the industry, including passage of the Childrenís Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 and its extension in 2001, the Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003, and this monthís Can-Spam Act."
"There is no doubt about it," Jewett added, "while Bobís untiring work ethic and unwavering commitment to the future of our industry will be missed, it will not be forgotten. His impact on at-distance marketing will be felt for years to come."
About The DMA
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMAís Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
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