The SA Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has a new chair. Clare O’Neil, the first woman to hold this position, replaces Sarel du Plessis, CEO of the Marketing Association of SA and chairman of SAARF since 2007.
O’Neil is co-owner and director of integrated outdoor company MMAP and a member of the SABC board. She has 30 years’ industry experience. This includes several years with M-Net, where she became marketing GM at Oracle Airtime Sales, . Later, as commercial sales director at e-tv, she helped set up SA’s first private free-to-air channel.
She went on to become MD of media agency Initiative Media before joining the SABC as TV sales and marketing GM. After four years, she became a media and broadcasting consultant. In 2010 she was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to serve as a non-executive director on the SABC board.
O’Neil says her SAARF term will be a time of “future-proofing the foundation”. She says: “As the guardian of one of the industry’s most valuable resources, the SAARF board must do more than simply rubber-stamp decisions made by the various media and product councils under it.”
Media strategist Virginia Hollis will serve a second year as SAARF’s vice-chair.