Holger Albers, managing director at DDV, the German DMA, was elected chairman of the Federation of European Direct Marketing for a two-year term at a FEDMA board meeting May 15. He succeeds Ivan Hodac, a Time-Life executive.
Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, FEDMA is a lobbying and membership organization. Over the past two years it has come out of a rough financial patch and the merging of corporate cultures from two predecessor DM associations.
“We're well on the way to developing an effective and efficient organization in Brussels,” Albers said. “Hodac put the group on the right track during his stewardship. I don't have to develop a new program because the program will develop organically from what we have done in the past. I've been involved in FEDMA for some time. I was vice chairman last year and a member of the vision committee put together in 1999 to give the association a new focus.”
Albers conceded that he had long favored FEDMA lobbying work over its other activities, but he said all the board members agreed on that point. In the past he had been known as a constructive critic of efforts to spread the organization too thin.
“The fact is that we have to address other issues besides lobbying, that we have to pay attention to development of direct marketing in Europe, and that means doing things that will be of use to our members,” he said.
Targeted structures and strategies aimed at the organization's membership will have a positive effect on lobbying, he said. “Saying that FEDMA is a lobby on the one hand and service organization on the other is not contradictory,” Albers said.
Not all the financial problems have been solved.
“We've had a couple of setbacks under Hodac, but we've been driven by the need to get our finances in order, and you can build on the basis that has been achieved so far,” he said.
Albers noted that he ran DDV for several years. “I know very precisely how such associations function and I know how work flows in them, whether they are in Brussels or in Wiesbaden [the seat of the DDV],” he said.
Albers runs a tight financial ship, and in the past fiscal year DDV's income exceeded expenditures. “I'm convinced that we can do the same thing with FEDMA,” he said.
Chairmen play a large role in setting priorities and providing direction, but they do not run the day-to-day operations. Alastair Tempest remains FEDMA's director general and the DM industry's chief lobbyist in Brussels.
FEDMA has 350 members and represents nearly 10,000 companies indirectly through the national DMAs.