Incoming 4A’s CEO Marla Kaplowitz says she’ll focus on repairing relationships and delivering value in new role

At the 4A’s Transformation conference in Los Angeles, incoming chief executive of the trade association, Marla Kaplowitz, gave attendees a bit of insight into what she plans to accomplish when she takes on her new role next month.

During a conversation with Horizon Media chief executive and chairman of the 4A’s board of directors Bill Koenigsberg, Kaplowitz, who currently leads MEC North America as CEO, said that her number one priority will be to ensure that the 4A’s is delivering value for its members. Kaplowitz, who was one of more than 75 candidates to compete for the 4A’s chief executive role, explained that she is eager to hear feedback from members so she can learn more about how the 4A’s can deliver for its constituency.

She also said that she plans to focus on repairing relationships, specifically the one with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The two trade bodies have been embroiled in a debate over how to best handle the issue of transparency within the media buying landscape since 2015, when former Mediacom chief executive Jon Mandel stated that rebates are widespread in the US ad market.

After joking that she’s already made strides in terms of mending the relationship, noting that she recently hugged ANA chief executive Bob Liodice, Kaplowitz told the audience that she’ll be speaking at the ANA’s Advertising Financial Management Conference next month.

“We have a common interest [with the ANA], which is to grow our clients’ business. They want to grow their business, we want to help them grow their business. I want it to be a partnership,” she said. “It’s obviously become strained, it’s played out in the press quite heavily, and there are going to be times where we disagree. But I think we need to focus in on the areas where we can agree. Measurement and third-party verification is a great example of an area where we can really partner and work together.”

Outgoing chief executive of the 4A’s Nancy Hill largely focused on improving gender equality and diversity within the industry during her tenure, and Kaplowitz added that she plans to build upon the improvements Hill made in these areas.

“It’s very challenging for young people come into organizations when they don’t see senior people who look like them or think like them,” she said. “That diversity needs to happen not just at the entry level, but also at the top.”

She also said she'll focus on getting more young people involved with and interested in advertising, particularly outside of New York.

“There are wonderful high school programs happening in New York. Those needs to extend to other cities and make sure that we not only seize that next generation in one part of the country but throughout the entire country,” she said.

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