May 16, 2021

Media Decoder: Advertising Research Foundation Gets Its First Female Leader

The Advertising Research Foundation is naming a longtime research executive at General Mills as its next president and chief executive, making her the first woman to lead the organization.

Gayle Fuguitt, who will join the A.R.F. on April 15, is to be introduced to the organization’s members on Monday morning, during a session of its annual Re:think conference that is focused on marketing research.

Ms. Fuguitt succeeds Robert Barocci, who had been president and chief executive since September 2003. The organization said in December that he would retire once his successor was named and help with the transition through the end of 2013.

Ms. Fuguitt, who is 56, took early retirement last summer from General Mills, where she had worked for 32 years, most recently as vice president for global consumer insights. While at General Mills, the packaged-food giant in Golden Valley, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, Ms. Fuguitt was instrumental in rethinking its marketing research function and looking at marketing research as a way to gain insight into consumer behavior.

“I really believe in the role of the researcher as the voice of the consumer at the decision table,” Ms. Fuguitt said in a telephone interview on Friday.

And to preserve that role, she added, “the researcher of the future needs to be an entrepreneur, anticipating where consumers are going and providing solutions to respond to business problems.”

The researcher in coming years will have to provide chief executives and chief marketing officers with information that is “more like apps than translating a white paper,” Ms. Fuguitt said, and act as “a bridge from ‘big data’ to one-on-one conversations with consumers on social media.”

As for becoming the first woman to lead the A.R.F., she added, “a lot of consumers are women.”

“I’m humbled and challenged to be the first for any reason,” she said.

Ms. Fuguitt was familiar with the organization because she had served on its board and executive board for five years. She resigned when she left General Mills because, she explained, her serving was based on being an executive at a member company.

After leaving General Mills, Ms. Fuguitt “got on the keynote speaking circuit,” she said, and “those talks made me realize I still have a lot of passion for my role in the industry.”

According to Michael Heitner, senior vice president for member value at the organization, 87 people applied for Mr. Barocci’s post. He called Ms. Fuguitt “the first choice” among them.

Ms. Fuguitt said she planned to move to New York, where the A.R.F. is based, from Minneapolis.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/advertising-research-foundation-gets-its-first-female-leader/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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