Starcom MediaVest CEO Becomes Chair of Ad Council

Laura Desmond praised as one of the industry's 'most respected leaders'

Starcom MediaVest Group's global CEO Laura Desmond today was named board chairman of the Advertising Council. Desmond succeeds Debra Lee, CEO of BET Networks. 

The appointment continues the Ad Council's tradition of rotating its leadership each year between media companies, advertising agencies and corporate advertisers. 

"Laura is one of this country's most respected leaders in the media and advertising communities," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "Her business acumen, marketing expertise and outstanding leadership will be instrumental to furthering our mission and the goals of our campaigns." Conlon recently announced that she will retire at the end of this year; the search for her replacement, which executive search firm Stewart Spencer is running, is under way. 

Desmond has served on the council's executive committee as vice chair since 2012. David Kenny, CEO of The Weather Company, will replace Desmond as the vice chair of media for the council. Kenny will work with David Christopher, chief marketing officer of AT&T and vice chair of advertisers. Desmond will serve as chair of the board until June 2015, when the leadership will rotate again and Christopher will succeed her.

"The Ad Council is an essential part of our media eco-system," said Desmond in a statement. "They are creating inspiring and educational content every day. I look forward to the many things we will be able to accomplish together." 

Under Desmond, the Ad Council's pro bono work with media agencies has increased.