Data & Marketing Association announces appointment of new chair, deputy and board members


Stephen Maher, CEO of MBA, has been named as the new chair of the DMA Board, with VerveIQ founder & MD Pipa Unsworth named as deputy chair. The pair are also joined by two newly elected additions to the DMA board in Cordell Burke, creative managing pPartner at Up There, Everywhere, and Firas Khnaisser, head of decisioning at Standard Life.

As his tenure begins, Maher said: “I am so delighted to be taking up this new role at such a vital time for the DMA and our 1,000 members who represent the UK’s leading brands and their marketing services partners. We will look to further extend and raise the profile of our industry expertise and training around data ethics and MarTech, as well as foster even greater industry diversity and inclusion from the classroom to the boardroom.”

Unsworth, new deputy chair of the DMA Board, said: “Though technologies like AI and data-driven marketing are prominent trends in our industry, our members are equally focused on people – building diverse teams and flexible, inclusive environments that enable the kind of creativity and innovation that delights us all as consumers. The DMA provides leadership and support across all these areas and it’s a privilege to help lead the agenda forward as we enter a new decade.”

Maher and Unsworth succeed Mark Runacus, co-founder and planning partner at Wax/On, and Caroline Worboys, COO at Outra, who took up their posts in 2017 and helped steer the DMA through a significant period of change for the association and the industry it represents. This has included helping the data and marketing industry through the biggest legislative change in a generation, with the General Data Protection Regulation that came into force in May 2018.

Both Runacus and Worboys have also supported the DMA team through its rebrand in 2019 that saw it become the Data & Marketing Association, including the Institute of Data & Marketing and DMA Talent. Meaning that from classroom to boardroom, the DMA is the driving force of intelligent marketing, moving the industry forward – for the good of marketers, businesses and most importantly, consumers.

Cordell Burke, creative managing partner at Up There, Everywhere, and Firas Khnaisser, head of decisioning at Standard Life have both been elected to three-year terms on the DMA Board. They will be filling the positions left by Gavin Wheeler, CEO at WDMP, and Michelle de Souza, chief data officer at Age UK. de Souza was recently appointed chair of TPS board and will continue to chair the DMA’s Fundraising Working Group

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA, said: “I am pleased to welcome Stephen and Pipa as the new leadership team, as well as having Cordell and Firas join the DMA Board. I look forward to working with all of them over the coming years to continue to shape the future of our industry. A special thanks must also go to Mark, Caroline, Michelle and Gavin for their contributions to the board during a period of significant change.”