Conservative direct marketer Richard A. Viguerie is stepping down as president/CEO of American Target Advertising Inc., handing over those responsibilities to chief operating officer Kathleen Patten.
Mr. Viguerie, who retains his chairman title at the Manassas, VA-based direct marketing agency, will focus more on client relations, strategic planning, the development of an Internet-based project and his commitment to conservative political causes.
“In the last few years it’s been obvious how the conservative movement needs a lot of things, mostly leadership,” Mr. Viguerie said. “I’m still going to be involved in the company management.”
Mr. Viguerie is the author of “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.”
Ms. Patten has held the COO role in the past 18 months. She rejoined the firm in September 2003 after having worked at The Viguerie Company from 1987 to 1989. The Viguerie Company was ATA’s predecessor.
Before returning to ATA in 2003, Ms. Patten was vice president of United Seniors Association, Fairfax, VA. She supervised direct marketing efforts, membership services and benefits, and grassroots, legislative and media campaigns in her decade-long career there.
Ms. Patten is said to have more than doubled United Seniors’ active membership base via a direct mail program of up to 20 million letters a year.
Ms. Patten holds a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from George Mason University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The College of William and Mary in 1987.
“I’m looking to expand both our client base – political advocacy groups, conservative groups and charitable groups – as well as expand services we offer our clients beyond direct mail into e-mail and viral marketing and major donor fundraising,” Ms. Patten said.
Her appointment will not change Mark Fitzgibbons’ title as president of corporate and legal affairs at ATA.
ATA has 40 employees working on accounts spanning sectors like health and welfare as well as colleges and universities.
Given its founder’s conservative bent, the 42-year-old agency also handles political and ideological clients.
Mr. Viguerie has already ramped up his Internet efforts with sites dedicated to conservative causes – http://www.conservativehq.com/ and http://www.conservativesbetrayed.com/. He is part of the traditional conservative movement upset with President Bush’s massive expansion of government and lack of conservative appointments.
Now he wants to extend that grassroots approach to nonprofits allied with political or ideological causes.
“What I’m going to do is spend a large amount of my time helping to relaunch the conservative movement through developing a virtual headquarters for the conservative movement on the Internet,” Mr. Viguerie said.
“No one has really figured out how to use the Internet from the nonprofit point of view that will give them a major advantage,” he said. “Certainly, Dean, Kerry and MoveOn.org have had some success. But it’s not something that you can take across the street and carry over. That’s what we want to do for the conservative movement.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Patten’s appointment as president/CEO means the COO spot is open. The agency is looking for a suitable candidate to fill that position and others as well.
“By the end of 2008, our company will have more than doubled in size,” Mr. Viguerie said. “It’s more difficult when your own people are perceived to be in power. It’s very difficult to raise money to build a cause, to advance your own agenda.
“But now that the Democrats control the Congress, I expect to double or triple the size of our organization in the next two to three years,” he said.