Jack Griffin, the new CEO of Time Inc., announced last week that Randall Rothenberg, the president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, has been hired by to be Time Inc's first Chief Digital Officer. Like many of you, I received this news with mixed emotions.
As someone who has been involved with the IAB since its founding back in 1996 and currently serves on its board of directors as well as its executive committee, I am sad to see our extraordinary leader leave. Randall (or Randy if you prefer) accomplished so much for all of us over these past four years. However, as his friend and as someone who believes that great news organizations can not only inform and entertain, but that they can help make the world a better place, I am truly excited that Randall is going to take on such an important role in such a significant global news franchise at such an important time.
Randall's leadership at the IAB will be missed by everyone in the industry. Like his predecessor Greg Stuart, Randall leaves both the IAB and our industry in much better shape that when he started. Greg brought the IAB out of near-bankruptcy and the "nuclear winter" of the Internet's post-bubble burst, and established a place at the paid media table for the interactive advertising industry. Randall took that platform and built an extraordinary, world-class trade organization with a highly professional staff, a very focused and effective strategy to help grow our industry broadly within the entire marketing ecosystem, a set of unmatched industry trade events and member services, and a significant and currently very effective legislative presence in Washington, D.C. He did all of this with a unique combination of energy, enthusiasm, blinding intelligence and sense of purpose that has been infectious to all of us.
Fortunately, Randall is not leaving the industry. Time, People and Sports Illustrated have and continue to be among the most important news and entertainment media brands in the world. Plotting the execution of the digital strategies for those great titles should be important to all of us. If there is anyone capable of helping those titles grow and extend their already impressive digital franchises, it is Randall. At the IAB and at Booz Allen, where he previously served as chief marketing officer, he showed us his business chops and his ability to get things done, particularly when it involved "herding cats" among groups of publishers and clients that didn't always want to work together. As an editor and columnist for The New York Times, and as the author of "Where Suckers Moon: An Advertising Story," he showed us his fine editorial sensibilities.
Randall is going to do great at Time Inc. I am sure of that. Happy holidays to all of you. And to Randall: thank you for a job well done. Please use the comments below to send your thanks to Randall as well.