Ad Council CEO Peggy Conlon To Retire

After 15 years, the former Broadcasting & Cable executive, is stepping down from leading the public service organization. During Conlon’s tenure, the Ad Council addressed significant social issues on behalf of prominent nonprofit and federal government organizations.

Peggy Conlon, the president-CEO of the Advertising Council since 1999 said Tuesday that she is retiring. The officers of the board, with Conlon’s support, have initiated a process to identify a successor and ensure a smooth transition by early 2015. Conlon joined the Ad Council in 1999, moving there from a group VP post at Reed Business Information, where she was responsible for eight leading television and consumer electronic titles including Broadcasting & Cable.

The Ad Council is a nonprofit and the largest producer of public service communications programs in the U.S. The organization received over $1.6 billion in donated media support on behalf of its 50 national public service campaigns in 2013. During Conlon’s 15-year tenure, the Ad Council addressed significant social issues on behalf of prominent nonprofit and federal government organizations such as United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security.

“Peggy took over the Ad Council at a critical point in history,” said Debra Lee, chair of the board of the Advertising Council, who is also CEO of BET Networks. “She quickly organized the advertising industry’s response following the September 11th attacks, which changed the way the Ad Council did business and established the organization as the ‘go to’ source for messages on other crises moving forward, including Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.”

Under Conlon’s leadership, the Ad Council also began addressing bullying prevention, texting and driving and child hunger, among other issues. Conlon worked closely with Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama on emergency preparedness, high school dropout prevention and raising awareness about the Affordable Care Act respectively, and led the development of childhood obesity campaigns as part of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative.

“Peggy’s leadership revolutionized how the Ad Council communicates its messages, leveraging digital and social media and the latest technologies to change social norms on behalf of critically important issues. Her tireless work has been invaluable,” Lee added.

The Ad Council’s creative is produced pro bono by the nation’s leading advertising agencies. Conlon expanded the Ad Council’s agency relationships to include public relations, digital, social and Web partners, as well as media buying agencies. Today the Ad Council organizes 360 degree campaigns that include social listening, content marketing and community management, as well as establishing a presence on nearly every major digital and social platform. These campaigns produce positive, measurable social change by engaging target audiences and increasing awareness and behaviors.


“It has been a tremendous privilege to be a steward of the Ad Council’s mission, representing the extraordinary pro bono efforts of our advertising, media and other agency partners, to stimulate action on key issues and make a measurable impact on our society,” Conlon said. “I look forward to doing all I can to support a seamless transition for the next president and CEO of this wonderful organization.”

The Ad Council’s Board of Directors has retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart to conduct the search for the new president and CEO. Any inquiries regarding the search should be sent to [email protected].

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