ProMax Calls in Some Big Players

Apr 2, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With Bill Clinton, John Waters and Kenneth Cole now lined up to speak at June’s Promax/BDA conference, executives at the media marketing organization are focusing on the road ahead in the wake of an ugly dispute with its ousted CEO.

The group is preparing for its two highest-profile conferences of the year in back-to-back months, with gaming conference MI6 set for May and its annual North American convention scheduled for June. In addition to lining up speakers, executives are in the midst of setting up sessions for conference participants and expect to have the agenda completed soon.

“Our big focus right now is on the May and June conferences, which so far look like they will both be some of our best events ever,” said Lee Hunt, interim managing director of Promax/BDA. “We are tracking ahead in new membership and will continue to follow the lead of the industry.”

CEO Vacancy

In addition, board members are moving forward in their search for a replacement to Jim Chabin, who had served as CEO for the organization since 2003. Insiders with knowledge of the board’s activities confirm that they are actively seeking a new face to lead the organization with a goal of officially introducing the successor at June’s Promax/BDA conference in New York.

An arbitration judge continues to review the details of Mr. Chabin’s contract after he was placed on administrative leave earlier in the year, according to those sources. Mr. Chabin offered to resign from his position following internal battles with the board over the direction of the organization, particularly the addition of the MI6 conference. Any payout received by Mr. Chabin could top $1 million.

Although Mr. Hunt wouldn’t address the state of affairs regarding Mr. Chabin or the search for the next CEO of the organization, he acknowledged that he was only in place as temporary managing director for the organization and would not be a candidate for the job.

One source, however, noted that the high-profile position, which oversees the global efforts and business affairs of the group, was already attracting top-tier candidates.

Mr. Hunt did address the state of the events, noting the MI6 conference in San Francisco would be adding a second tier of sessions for lower-level marketing executives in the gaming industry in addition to its primary tier for senior marketing executives.

MI6 is a game-marketing conference designed to take the place of the diminished E3 gathering, which saw pullouts of major companies including Nintendo last year. MI6 is currently slated to be held in May, a month before the annual Promax/BDA convention.

As for Promax/BDA, the group announced last week that film director Waters and designer Cole would speak at the annual North American conference, which takes place June 12 to June 14 at the New York Hilton..

“I’ve been blown away by the number of session submissions we’ve received from our members,” said Mr. Hunt. “There were more than 200 submissions to fill 60 slots, and the conference committee has spent the past six weeks going through every one of those sessions, trying to make the final decisions with the goal of figuring out which ones best meet our theme of ‘Marketing 360’ that looks at all the different spokes that come out of our business.”