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The industry loses a legend


In the last week, the data and marketing industry has sadly lost one of its most influential figures, Rosemary Smith.

One of the most dynamic and passionate advocates for the industry, she spent 7 years on the DMA Board (including service as Chair), an expert tutor and Honorary Fellow for the IDM, Chair of the DM Trust, and noted author on key issues facing the industry – as well as being part of many successful businesses.

Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA, said of the news: ‘Rosemary has been a leader of the data and marketing industry for many years. Her drive and passion for our industry was infectious; her presence will be missed by all the people whose lives she has touched. Rosemary's contribution as Chair of the DMA laid the foundations for the modern DMA that exists today, especially her transformation of governance which has created a more agile and dynamic board structure. She has continued to be a leader of the industry through her stellar work on GDPR implementation at Opt-4 and Data Protection Network. The GDPR guidance created by DPN and the continued collaboration with DMA helped hundreds of businesses implement significant transformations as they adapted to the new regulations. Rosemary will be missed by all of us.’

Rosemary, a graduate of English from the University of York, began her career in directory publishing – her first foray into the data and marketing industry. During this time, she was introduced to the importance and power that data could have for businesses, and this would be one of the continued themes throughout her career.

She discovered another key career moment during her time at the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), which she joined in 1984, and which marked her first experience with the world of industry bodies.

Her experience with lists and publishing took her in 1989 to one of the leading businesses at the time, Mardev (subsequently acquired by Reed International), where she rose to the role of managing director in 1992.

Later in her career, she found herself running the contact centre and fulfilment businesses for Acxiom, before starting The Prospect Shop for Bonnier. Her entrepreneurial instincts later led her to launch and run her own data business, RSA Direct, from 2003 to 2012. She founded Opt-4 with Jenny Moseley a year later.

Her drive, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit will be sorely missed here at the DMA, and throughout the industry.

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