The Talented Team That Drives the ARF
Executive Leadership Team
CEO & President
Scott McDonald became the CEO and President of the Advertising Research Foundation on March 1, 2017. With over 30 years of research experience solving pressing business issues, Scott is an ardent champion of high-quality standards. He has held senior research positions at leading global media companies, including 10 years at Time Inc., and 14 years Conde Nast. He also served as Chairman of the ARF from 2001 to 2002. His innovative work at the intersection of advertising research, traditional media, and the digital revolution reflects his roots in academia. Namely, McDonald earned his PhD in Sociology from Harvard University and has taught courses on media measurement, media economics, and monetization strategies at Columbia Business School for the past 18 years.
EVP, Research and Innovation: Global Research, Quality & Innovation
Chris Bacon is EVP, Global Research, Quality & Innovation at the ARF. He leads the Research Quality initiatives and leads the ARF’s Leadership Lab program. Since joining the ARF last year, he has shepherded publication of 3 research quality white papers in the Journal of Advertising Research, developed Mobile Research Quality best practice guidelines, and initiated the Leadership Lab which has educated 871 students, awarded 80 Master of Analytics certificates, and held 20 classes with 28 professors.
Chief Research Officer
Paul Donato joined the ARF as Chief Research Officer in October 2017. Paul is a highly-regarded leader in media and advertising research with more than two decades of industry experience. Earlier in his career he co-founded WPP’s Media Research Business Unit, served as CEO of Kantar Media, and Technical Director of IBOPE Latin America. He was the EVP and CRO for The Nielsen Company for more than a decade, overseeing Nielsen retail, consumer, mobile, and media measurement methodologies. Upon leaving Nielsen, Paul founded Jatopond, a media and market research firm. He also has led business units at Simmons, and at Audits and Surveys Worldwide. He currently sits on the Future State Committee of the National Air and Space Museum. In addition to leading the research team, Paul will also play an active role in overall ARF leadership, helping to guide our future direction.
SVP, Events Program Producer
Rachael is the SVP, Events Program Producer at the ARF in charge of program content, speaker recruitment and interaction, new experiential learning platforms, forums, and volunteer networks for all events.
Director, Business Development & Growth
Kelly is the Director, Business Development & Growth. She heads up all new member prospecting and recruitment driving new member growth by combining her background in market research with business development. She has significant experience working with local, national and global organizations, rate negotiating, and the negotiating process.
EVP, Member Needs & Value
Michael Heitner is responsible for member relations at the Advertising Research Foundation. As senior vice president of Member Value, Michael leads the ARF’s executive team in building and activating membership through special initiatives, events, and conferences. Additionally, he serves as an external networking resource, connecting members with each other directly to advance mutual business needs.
Thomas M. Higgins
Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer
Tom joined the ARF as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer in 2015 after a successful career as a partner in a New York City public accounting firm and as chief financial officer of an internationally recognized educational membership not-for-profit organization. In his current role, Tom has oversight responsibility for the ARF’s finance, technology and human resources functions.
Chief Marketing Officer
Marc brings over thirty years of agency and research experience in helping clients build their brands and achieve their business goals. Marc is bringing that same focus to this role—he helps members achieve success by maximizing their involvement in ARF’s conferences, meetings, and opportunities.
Horst Stipp, Ph.D.
EVP, Research & Innovation: Global & Ad Effectiveness
Horst is part of the ARF’s Research and Innovation team, and focuses on the needs of global members, as well as ARF’s global strategy. He also leads the the original “neuro” research project. He joined the ARF as EVP of Global Business Strategy in 2011.