James Edmund Datri

President & CEO of the American Advertising Federation


James Edmund Datri As President and CEO of the American Advertising Federation, James Edmund Datri serves as the AAF’s national leader and chief spokesman, representing nearly 100 corporate members, comprising the nation’s leading advertisers, advertising agencies, and media; 40,000 individual members from 200 local AAF ad federations; and 8,000 members from 226 AAF college chapters.

Datri is well known for his leadership in government, politics, and public policy. He served as executive director of the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 to 2005. He held senior positions in the U.S. Congress, including positions with Congressman (now United States Senator) Robert Menendez (D-N.J.); Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), whose congressional district includes New York’s Madison Avenue; and Congressman Sander Levin (D-Mich.).

During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Datri earned a well-deserved reputation as an effective problem solver and coalition builder. National Journal reported in a June 21, 2003, profile: “When a problem arises in the ... ranks of the House Democratic Caucus, Datri is the staffer to whom [Chairman] Menendez and other lawmakers turn first,” and “Datri directed a series of policy forums on economic and security issues that helped forge consensus among ideologically diverse House Democrats.”

Datri was named five times to Roll Call’s “Fabulous Fifty” list of the 50 most influential advisers and strategists on Capitol Hill. He is an experienced speechwriter and has written speeches given in prime time at the 2000 and 2004 Democratic National Conventions.

Datri is also an attorney and was a partner at two large law firms: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, an AAF member; and McDermott Will & Emery, then one of the 10 largest law firms in the United States, where Datri was a key member of McDermott’s Government Strategies Practice Group, led by former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (R).

Datri has been engaged in advertising issues throughout his career. During his time on Capitol Hill, he worked to protect the full deductibility of advertising expenses. He worked with the AAF during the foundation of the Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism, and on the AAF’s first Summit on Diversity in the advertising industry, held in Washington, D.C. He worked with the Clinton White House on the executive order signed in October of 2000 that established the first multicultural advertising guidelines for federal government departments and agencies. And Datri currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council, the Advertising Educational Foundation, and the National Advertising Review Council.

Datri, a New York City native, earned his Juris Doctor in 1992 from Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Record, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in 1989 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was a University of California Regents Scholar.