A discussion with Rob Fitzgerald, president of Walter Karl

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Rob Fitzgerald was recently promoted to president of Walter Karl from his position as VP of Walter Karl Interactive. DMNews sat down for a Q&A with Fitzgerald to discuss his promotion and his plans for the future.

Q: Joann Kropp, the former president of Walter Karl, left the company in October. Did you serve as interim president?

A: No. Prior to assuming the position, I ran the Interactive division, so I came here five years ago basically to cover that division. I grew it over the past five years, and that's how I got acclimated to the Walter Karl environment.

Q: What will your approach to interactive be, since that is where you are coming from?

A: I don't want to say that we will shift to more, but I think interactive is becoming a bigger part of everyone's focus. Our digital business has been a huge success story and continues to be a driving factor. Every company out there has a Web site, so everybody, either today or tomorrow, is going to look at how they can better leverage that asset.

Q: What is your strategy for moving forward? Any big ideas for the company?

A: We are very much going to do what we see a lot of clients doing and do what we see life doing: becoming more integrated and more interactive. We're very broad-based in terms of solutions, and we have large and small clients that all have different needs. We're looking at more efficient and effective ways to serve the needs of those clients and to package our products in a more transparent and blended format. We have online, e-mail marketing, code registration, lead generation, offline, traditional list brokerage, traditional postal lists, data processing, compiled data solutions — a lot of things that we can bring to the table, so we're looking to tie all those together. First, we're looking at them as independent solutions to themselves, so maybe we'll be breaking down the walls that separate sales channels and making them more global. But we're also interested in being able to bring in various experts that can help clients at a boutique level.

Q: Can we expect other hiring changes within the company?

A: We have had a couple of promotions internally, so it's all internally driven right now. There's a great talent pool within this organization, and we're looking to have everyone rise to the task before us. We're always looking for best talent in the market that can really come to our company and continue what we've been doing, so we're always committed to hiring.


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