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Editor’s Note: re:Think 2013 kicks off today and we have 6 bloggers on site covering the event, so there is going to be A TON of posts coming through this week related to the conference and what folks are learning there. Be sure to check back regularly to get all of the latest.

To start the coverage we have big news: former General Mills Executive Gayle Fuguitt has just been announced as the successor to retiring CEO Bob Barocci!

This is great news!

I’ve had the honor and privilege of getting to know Gayle a bit over the past year and I can’t think of a better candidate to build off of the foundation Bob has established and lead the ARF into the future. Gayle is smart, dynamic, visionary, and a genuinely great human being. Her unique combination of “from the trenches” client-side research experience, executive leadership skills, passion for innovation, collaborative style and ability to inspire is exactly what the organization needs as it adapts to the rapidly changing needs of insight-driven marketing organizations.

Now I’m really bummed I’m missing re:Think; what a great celebration it must be to honor Bob’s amazing legacy while coronating Gayle as the person to take the ARF to new heights.

Here is the press release.


Gayle Photo_20R1863.72NEW YORK (March 18, 2013) – The Advertising Research Foundation announced today 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 a highly effective executive, 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 capture the opportunities and address the challenges that the ARF and our industry face, ranging from the rapidly changing media landscape to globalization.”

She earned her B.A. in economics, and a B.S. in industrial relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing research from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  A passionate supporter of non-profits, she is currently a trustee at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, on the YWCA board of directors, and a strategic advisor to the Northside Achievement Zone.

Rance Crain, President of Crain Communications and Editor-in-Chief of Advertising Age, will present Fuguitt to the public and media for the first time in her new capacity today at Re:think 2013, the nation’s leading advertising research conference hosted by the ARF.  The three-day conference convened March 18 here at the Marriott Marquis.

Re:think 2013 will offer nearly three dozen learning sessions, Key Issue Forums, presentations, panel discussions and keynote sessions covering a wide range of marketing-centric research topics.  See link for agenda:


About the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF):

Founded in 1936 by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the ARF is dedicated to aggregating, creating and distributing research-based knowledge that will help members make better advertising decisions. ARF members include more than 400 advertisers, advertising agencies, associations, research firms, and media companies. The ARF is the only organization that brings all members of the industry to the same table for strategic collaboration. The ARF celebrates more than 75 years as the industry’s authoritative source of advertising knowledge. The ARF is located at 432 Park Ave. South, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 and on the Web at

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