BOSTON H. Robert Wientzen, president and chief executive officer of the Direct Marketing Association since 1996, plans to retire on July 4, 2004, the DMA said.
"Anyone who knows me will know that retiring was not an easy decision for me to make," said Wientzen in a statement. "While our industry and the DMA have faced many challenges since I came on board in 1996, it's also been a period of unprecedented growth, international expansion and technological advancement—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 immensely enjoyed every minute—even the challenges."
Wientzen said retirement would allow him to spend more time with his family, with whom he hopes to travel.
An executive search committee composed of current and former DMA board members has been formed to select Wientzen's successor.
Wientzen, 64, is a marketing veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Prior to his DMA appointment, Wientzen was CEO and chairman of Advanced Promotion Technologies. Before APT, he spent 27 years at Proctor & Gamble, where he pioneered the company's early direct marketing efforts.
"Under Bob's guidance, 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 Children's 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 month's Can-Spam Act," said Becky Jewett, president of Norm Thompson Outfitters and chairman of the DMA board of directors.