New DMA Chief Led Staff Overhaul While at Yellow Pages

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John A. Greco, the new chief executive of the Direct Marketing Association, oversaw a staff reorganization at his former job as president/CEO of the Yellow Pages Interactive Media Association.

Greco, who was at YPIMA from 2000 to 2003, confirmed last week that he brought in a new leadership team with the support of YPIMA's board of directors. However, Greco said he had no "preconceived notions about DMA staff."

"I am fortunate that I am taking over the management of an organization with a reputation for a staff that is among the best in the association industry," he said.

Greco will take over the DMA on Aug. 16.

Neg Norton was YPIMA's vice president of national marketing when Greco arrived, but resigned amidst the reorganization. He returned to YPIMA earlier this year as Greco's permanent replacement as president/CEO.

At the time of the reorganization, YPIMA was known as the Yellow Pages Publishers Association. Greco led a re-branding effort in 2002 behind a national ad campaign and changed the association's name.

The DMA has not given Greco a mandate to overhaul the association staff, said Michael Sherman, vice chairman of Crosstown Traders, who headed the DMA search team that helped select Greco. The search committee thoroughly reviewed Greco's performance at YPIMA.

"We thought he had a good run there," Sherman said. "We know there was a lot of change there."

Greco's stay at YPIMA was short by DMA standards. Current DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen was at the DMA for nearly eight years, and his predecessor, Jonah Gitlitz, for nearly 12.

Short stays are not uncommon for executives at YPIMA, said YPIMA spokeswoman Stephanie Hobbs.

"It's not a lifetime commitment," she said. "This industry changes, and its needs change."

Greco confirmed that he and the YPIMA board mutually agreed to part ways.

Greco received praise from Herb Gordon, YPIMA board member and president/CEO of the Association of Directory Marketers. ADM and YPIMA share much membership, and the presidents of each association sit on the other's board of directors.

During Greco's time at YPIMA, there was an overhaul of membership on the association's board of directors, Gordon said. The people who hired Greco left and were succeeded by a group of board members with different philosophies and objectives for the association.

"I think John understands the communications business," Gordon said. "I think he's a quick study. He has a very positive attitude."

It was Greco's dual experience in both direct marketing and as an association head that made him attractive, Sherman said.

"We were trying to figure out whether it would be someone from the industry or someone from an association," Sherman said. "We saw we could get the best of both."


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