*DMA Restructures Board Committees

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ORLANDO, FL--The Direct Marketing Association yesterday reformulated its 40-member board of directors -- in its biggest reorganization ever -- to make the group more industry-focused and quicker-to-market in terms of solving industry problems.

DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen announced the changes at the National Center for Database Marketing conference here. The restructuring has been in the works for more than a year but was first discussed during the tenure of former DMA CEO Jonah Gitlitz. For the first time, five to eight members of the board will sit on specially formulated oversight committees focused on four areas:

* Ethics and privacy.

* Government affairs.

* New initiatives.

* Industry segments.

Previously, the DMA had specific committees made up of a variety of members that met on similar issues, but there was little or no direct link to board members' ears. The new board oversight committees will be responsible for "looking after what these groups do and presenting to the board subjects that deal with specific issues relating to the oversight committees they sit on," Wientzen said. "The board never really got involved in the details or oversight of these individual activities. While one member of these committees was a board member, if something came up that a member of the committee wanted to make known to the board, they would do it through this board member."

New advisory committees will be formed in eight industry segments to tap the expertise of individual DMA member senior executives and to involve them in the board's policymaking development and decisions. The committees are: business-to-business, catalog/mail order, consumer services, information/list/database, international, Internet, not-for-profit and teleservices/direct-response television. Each committee will meet at least twice a year to review policy issues and provide input to the DMA board.

"The real goal here is to allow us to have available a cadre of experts in those various segments to whom we can go to for their input on strategic things," Wientzen said. "We had councils, but they would deal with the operating issues of the association, such as what kind of topics would be of interest for a conference. What we want here is a committee that talks about strategic issues that affect their segment and then they can tell us what we ought to be doing in those areas."

Wientzen is hoping to have the selection process completed by mid-January. The DMA is seeking 70 to 80 people to serve on the committees. The reason for the changes, he said, is because the direct marketing industry is "getting so complex and moving so quickly that we need to ensure that we are getting the best input and that we can access the best input quickly."

The new organization of the board won't affect the existing member committees of the association or the work of the DMA councils, chapters and affiliates.

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