Jacki Kelley, CEO of dentsu Americas, has been named chair of the Ad Council’s board of directors. She succeeds Linda Yaccarino, chairman, global advertising and partnerships of NBCUniversal, and will serve in the role until June 30, 2023.
Tara Walpert Levy, VP, Americas at YouTube, has also been elected to vice chair of the Ad Council’s board of directors alongside Diego Scotti, current vice chair, who will serve as chair after Kelley.
For more than 80 years, the Ad Council has been at the forefront of driving the communications industry’s social impact efforts. Its board of directors is comprised of senior marketing and media executives who provide expertise, insights and financial support to ensure the Ad Council’s social impact communication campaigns are effective and impactful. Most recently, the Ad Council and its board of directors led the industry’s response to COVID-19 and the launch of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.
As chair, Kelley will work in collaboration with the executive committee, the governing body of the Ad Council’s board, and Ad Council leadership to further the organization’s mission to use the power of communications to address the country’s critical social issues. Additionally, Kelley will chair the Ad Council’s 2022 Annual Public Service Award Dinner, the organization’s largest annual fundraising event.
“Jacki’s commitment to driving social impact through smart and strategic marketing has been invaluable to the Ad Council’s campaigns and reinforced Jacki’s reputation as one of the most influential and altruistic leaders within our industry,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “With Jacki’s guidance, we will continue to convene powerful coalitions and implement cutting edge strategies that will move the needle on America’s most pressing issues.”
Kelley joined the Ad Council board of directors in 2017 and became a member of the executive committee in 2018. Prior to her appointment as board Chair, Kelley served as vice chair. Under Kelley’s leadership, dentsu Americas made a commitment from the top to develop a comprehensive blueprint for the Ad Council’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, aligning leadership across the organization--Carat, Merkle, Posterscope, Mitchell, Amplifi. The effort was serviced via the dentsu health teaming platform, informing everything that went into the Ad Council’s largest effort in its 80-year history.
“I could not be more proud to serve as the chair, working alongside the amazing Lisa Sherman. I am grateful for the leadership of my friend Linda Yaccarino who led an unprecedented effort for vaccination education in one of the most important moments in our history,” said Kelley. “The Ad Council is a place where our collective power to create change comes together for the good of society. It is an honor to work with my colleagues to demonstrate the power of our craft.”
Kelley has been a recognized and lauded leader in the advertising and media industries for over 25 years. She joined dentsu in 2019 as president, chief client officer, dentsu US, and was named dentsu Americas CEO in January 2020. During her time at dentsu, Kelley has led the region through a restructure going from 35+ brands to six leadership brands, championed and developed an industry leading DEI strategy favoring progress over activity and created a culture of transparency and inclusivity.
In addition to her role at dentsu Americas, Kelley serves on the boards of FreshPet and Comic Relief USA and has been honored with the United Way of New York City’s Power of Women to Make a Difference Award. She was named a Matrix Award Honoree by New York Women in Communications; Advertising Woman of the Year by the Advertising Women of New York; a New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award Honoree; and was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement.
With the election of Kelley, the Ad Council will continue its ongoing tradition of rotating board chairs between the organizations’ four sectors: media companies, technology platforms, agencies and advertisers.