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Guest Blog by New NAI President and CEO Leigh Freund

I don’t officially start as the new President and CEO of NAI until March 16, but NAI was kind enough to allow me to be a “guest blogger” today so that I can introduce myself to the NAI membership, prospective members and other stakeholders. I’m thrilled and honored to join NAI.

I am incredibly fortunate to begin my work with an organization that has already become the standard bearer in the industry for robust and accountable self-regulation, and the NAI Board has been instrumental in that evolution. I want to thank Marc Groman for his tireless work and impressive achievements on behalf of NAI. Marc has assembled a great NAI staff of privacy professionals, ad industry vets, and computer and data scientists who together make NAI the leading self-regulatory association dedicated to responsible data collection and its use for digital advertising, and I am really excited to work with them. With the support of Marc and the NAI staff, I am confident that NAI’s leadership transition will be seamless.

I spent the last 11 years at AOL Inc., most recently serving as the company’s vice president and chief counsel for global public policy. Prior to that, I led the legal team responsible for AOL’s advertising platforms and its third party network business. My career has permitted me to experience first-hand the tremendous contributions that NAI members have made to our industry.

I believe my experience at AOL and in the digital advertising space has been a customized training program for leading the NAI. I have been in the trenches during some of the most important changes in our industry, from standard display ads to the latest technology advances in programmatic advertising. I have worked to educate lawmakers and regulators on these issues and I have fought hard for responsible and robust self-regulation.

I strongly believe that self-regulation fosters innovation and encourages creative problem-solving. Of course, self-regulation is only effective when it is measurable, disciplined, rigorous, and backed by a serious commitment to enforcement. Self-regulation excels by maintaining high standards while providing constantly evolving guidance, helping businesses keep pace with rapid changes in technology and allowing the Internet economy to flourish.

From my perspective, the NAI’s self-regulatory program does all of that, and more. NAI maintains a critical role at the intersection of consumer privacy needs and effective advertising delivery. The NAI Code is clear, comprehensive, and direct; and its enforcement program works. I am committed to continuing to build on the NAI’s outstanding reputation and ensure that NAI’s self-regulatory program remains strong.

I look forward to meeting NAI members at the 2015 NAI Member Summit in New York City on Thursday, May 21. This event is a great opportunity for NAI members to learn about the important issues that our industry faces today, from innovation and changing technologies to new business models that enable brands to more effectively engage with their customers across screens, devices and platforms.

This is an exciting time for our industry, and I look forward to working with the NAI board, staff and membership to preserve, and enhance, the tremendous value of the digital advertising ecosystem.

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