January 20, 2022

Media Decoder Blog: 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

KPN Executive Quits Over Governance

BERLIN — A business executive who became the first woman to be appointed chief financial officer of a major Dutch company resigned Tuesday, citing a dispute over a management reorganization at her employer, the phone operator KPN.

Carla Smits-Nusteling, KPN’s chief financial officer, resigned a little more than two years after being named to the position, saying she disagreed with a decision to quadruple the top management board to 12 members from three, the company said.

Mrs. Smits-Nusteling became the first woman appointed chief financial officer of a blue-chip company on Amsterdam’s benchmark AEX stock index in September 2009, when she was tapped by the then chief executive, Ad Scheepbouwer.

She had been working for KPN in a variety of financial controlling roles since 2000.

Last April, Mr. Scheepbouwer retired and was replaced by Eelco Blok, the KPN board member responsible for international mobile operations. Mr. Blok announced a reorganization to simplify KPN’s management, under which nine business units had been reporting independently to the three-member board.

Under Mr. Blok’s plan, the unit heads would join board members on an expanded “executive committee.” The 12-member group met informally several times late last year, and officially took up its new role Monday.

Mrs. Smits-Nusteling’s departure was announced the next day.

KPN said Mrs. Smits-Nusteling had informed KPN’s supervisory board, which oversees and appoints top managers, that she was stepping down because she disagreed with the governance of the new executive committee.

Stefan Simons, a KPN spokesman, said Mrs. Smits-Nusteling had declined to comment further and had agreed not to give interviews. KPN said she would leave the company in April.

“We regret Carla’s departure,” Jos Streppel, KPN’s supervisory board chairman, said in a statement. “Since her appointment as chief financial officer, Carla has performed as well as we had expected and has acted as a highly professional and engaged board member and C.F.O.”

KPN, the former Dutch phone monopoly, has been struggling in the Netherlands, one of Europe’s more competitive phone markets, where two cable television operators, UPC, a unit of Liberty Global, and Ziggo, also sell fixed-line voice and Internet services. In October, KPN had a 45 percent share of the fixed-line market and 46 percent of the mobile market, where it competes with the Dutch units of T-Mobile, Vodafone and more than 50 virtual operator resellers.

In April, when Mr. Blok became chief executive, KPN issued a profit warning, saying that Dutch consumers were increasingly using free Internet-based services like social networking and free Internet applications like Whatsapp, a smartphone Web texting service based in Mountain View, California, to avoid KPN’s calling and texting charges.

Until a replacement for Mrs. Smits-Nusteling is found, KPN said her job would be split between Eric Hageman, the head of the company’s Belgian operations, and Steven van Schilfgaarde, the corporate markets chief.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4eb534085d4b8a29bbebc4efae1a460a

French Court Delays Inquiry Into Lagarde’s Handling of 2007 Case

PARIS — A French court on Friday gave Christine Lagarde, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund, her second reprieve in a month from a potential investigation into whether she abused her authority as France’s finance minister prior to taking her new job, but it left open the possibility of future legal proceedings against her.

As Ms. Lagarde prepared to hold her first I.M.F. board meeting Friday to consider another $3 billion in emergency financing for Greece, the French Court of Justice, which oversees ministers’ actions in office, said it would delay until Aug. 4 a decision on whether to look into her handling in 2007 of a court case involving a French tycoon.

It was the second time in a month that the court has postponed a ruling. A court official said one of the judges had recused himself, Reuters reported. The delay means another month of legal uncertainty hangs over Ms. Lagarde.

“It’s a bit surprising,” said Christopher Mesnooh, a partner in international business law at Field Fisher Waterhouse in Paris. “Given the high-profile conditions under which she replaced her predecessor at the I.M.F., one might have thought the court would have wanted to provide legal certainty today, to allow Madame Lagarde to commence her functions with a clear mind.”

Ms. Lagarde ushered in a new era at the I.M.F. on Tuesday as the first woman to hold the post of managing director, one of the top position in international finance. She met at the fund’s headquarters in Washington with employees still ruffled by the resignation of her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, after he was charged with the sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York. Her contract contains a section on conduct and ethics that requires her to “strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”

At issue in the French court case is whether Ms. Lagarde abused her authority as finance minister in one of France’s longest-running legal dramas.

In 2007, she ordered that a dispute between Bernard Tapie, a flamboyant French businessman and friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Crédit Lyonnais, a state-owned bank, be referred to an arbitration panel. The panel ultimately awarded Mr. Tapie a settlement of about $580 million, including interest.

Mr. Tapie, a former chief of the Adidas sports empire and a former Socialist minister who changed political loyalties to support Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign, accused Crédit Lyonnais in 1993 of cheating him when it oversaw the sale of his stake in Adidas.

Mr. Sarkozy suggested that the Finance Ministry, which was overseeing the case because Crédit Lyonnais was a ward of the French state, move the case to arbitration.

Ms. Lagarde defended her role in the case again this week, telling French television that she had “exactly the same confidence and peace of mind” whether the court decides to pursue investigations or not.

If the court decides later to investigate, Ms. Lagarde would have to gird for a possibly lengthy legal process, although she would not necessarily be required to be present in France.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=e39202f53c9da0c182d1820fc726975a

A Favorite Emerges for Helm of I.M.F.

Ms. Lagarde looked him in the eye. “The best way for the banking sector to say thank you would be to actually have, you know, good financing of the economy, sensible compensation systems in place and reinforcement of their capital,” she replied, to a burst of applause.

Her straight talk has helped burnish Ms. Lagarde’s reputation as one of Europe’s most influential ambassadors in the world of international finance.

And now it is helping to make Ms. Lagarde, 55, perhaps the leading candidate to succeed her friend and colleague Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund. There is growing pressure on Mr. Strauss-Kahn to resign his post as the I.M.F.’s managing director to deal with charges of attempted rape, stemming from his encounter with a hotel maid in New York last Saturday.

Another of Ms. Lagarde’s selling points, though, may be one not listed on her résumé.

“What’s happened with Strauss-Kahn underscores how great it would be to have a woman in the role,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former I.M.F. chief economist who is now a professor at Harvard University.

If she gets the post, Ms. Lagarde would be the first woman to run the I.M.F. — or any large international financial institution, for that matter. But Mr. Rogoff indicated gender was only part of her appeal.

“She is enormously impressive, politically astute and a strong personality,” he said. “At finance meetings all over the world, she is treated practically like a rock star.”

European officials are frantically maneuvering to keep one of their own in a post Europe has controlled since the I.M.F. and the World Bank were created in the late 1940s. It will not necessarily be easy. Three years after financial excesses in the United States and Europe brought the world economy to the brink of catastrophe, Mr. Strauss-Kahn has become the latest symbol of what many see as the faults of the wealthy West.

Appointing simply another European, particularly another white middle-age male, might not fly this time.

The world’s fast-growing emerging economies say they should now get a shot at running a big institution like the I.M.F. — or the World Bank, traditionally headed by an American in a long-standing understanding between the two economic powers.

But with Europe facing a drawn-out financial crisis of its own, global leaders may consider it politic for a European to finish serving out Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s term, which ends in 2012. That might then create an opening for a leader from one of the emerging markets — from South Africa or India, for example — whose collective economic heft and effect on global markets is starting to eclipse that of the West.

That is why Ms. Lagarde is seen as Europe’s lifeline. Her main competition,, analysts say, is another policy maker with an alternate profile, Kemal Dervis, a former finance minister of Turkey. Mr. Dervis is credited with rescuing the Turkish economy after it was hit by a devastating financial crisis in 2001, in part by securing a multibillion-dollar loan from the I.M.F. Before that, Mr. Dervis worked at the World Bank for 24 years.

But with the I.M.F. overseeing 100 billion euros (around $140 billion) in loans to Greece, Portugal and Ireland, Ms. Lagarde may be the best person to steer a transition at the I.M.F., analysts says, even if President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has not yet moved to put her in the running.

Ms. Lagarde has kept quiet about the rumors circulating about her potential candidacy. As one French official put it: “She knows that whatever she says will only diminish her chances. It’s best to stay above the fray and see what happens.”

But French officials do not doubt her ambition to move to I.M.F. headquarters in Washington if the opportunity arose. “She is without a doubt one of the top candidates people are talking about right now,” a French diplomat said.

Ms. Lagarde’s biggest drawback as a candidate, perhaps, is that she is French — like Mr. Strauss-Kahn. But recent history suggests that that is not a disqualifier. Between 1978 and 2000, two Frenchmen — Jacques de Larosiere and Michel Camdessus — were the successive chiefs of the I.M.F.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a4df69e55199369df3795c24aacce7c5