The Advertising Research Foundation announced that Gayle Fuguitt, former vice president of Global Consumer Insights at General Mills, will become the first woman to lead the 77-year-old organization when she succeeds Bob Barocci as president and CEO on April 15, 2013.
Fuguitt, a long-time champion of employing consumer insights and research while at General Mills, spent 32 years at the Minneapolis-based food company, where she was lauded for bringing the voice of the consumer to the decision table. She has served on the board and executive committee of the ARF from 2005 to 2012. “I couldn’t be happier that Gayle has been chosen to succeed me at the ARF,” says Barocci. “Not only does Gayle bring 32 years of experience as an advertiser – the first ever! – but she has the analytical skills, creative vision, and global insight necessary to help our members make better advertising decisions in this uncertain age. In addition, at General Mills, Gayle was a pioneer in applying digital technology to research and branding.”
In recent years at General Mills, Fuguitt concentrated on innovation, globalization, shopper insights, and global decision analytics. She also spearheaded new proprietary solutions through the Center for Learning and Experimentation, one of the many organizational structures she designed at General Mills to inspire growth and innovation. Barocci is retiring after nearly a decade of heading the Advertising Research Foundation. During his tenure, the ARF tripled its size and encouraged the industry to discover new methods, many of them related to emerging digital technology. Previously, he spent 21 years at Leo Burnett Co. in Chicago, headed his own ad agency (McConnaughy Barocci Brown), and served as director of Young & Rubicam’s Central/East Europe operations.
“I am thrilled to build on Bob’s legacy at the ARF, where he advanced, improved and expanded its objectivity, industry leading conferences, world class board and journals, and its standing among researchers and marketers alike,” said Fuguitt. “I plan to build on this legacy with digital, global and bold collaborations, and the next generation researcher to bring the voice of the consumer to the decision-making table.”
In announcing the appointment, Colleen Fahey Rush, ARF board chair and chief research officer of Viacom Media Networks,said, “Gayle has a distinguished, 32-year track record as an innovator in the field of advertising research and a key leader in our industry. Gayle’s experience, perspective and energy are perfectly suited to help us address the opportunities and challenges facing the ARF and our industry today, from the rapidly changing media landscape to globalization.”