The American Advertising Federation Appoints Industry Veteran Steve Pacheco as President & CEO

WASHINGTON DC, June 6, 2019
—The American Advertising Federation (AAF) Board of Directors announced it has appointed marketing veteran Steve Pacheco as the organization’s new president & CEO, effective immediately. The Board ratified the appointment today at the AAF’s annual national conference, ADMERICA

The AAF began its search for a new president & CEO last year, following former President & CEO James Edmund Datri’s decision to step down in October after completing 10 years of service to the organization. Strategic advisory firm MediaLink, an Ascential company, was engaged to lead the search, working closely with the AAF’s search committee of board members and executives. 

Pacheco will be tasked with designing a future-forward organization consistent with the rapid, seismic change impacting the advertising landscape. His role will span evolution and development of the AAF’s programs, services and membership; volunteer engagement; and serving as the voice of the advertising industry through advocacy and lobbying on key issues from free commercial speech to the advancement of diversity and inclusion.   

“Advertising is undergoing unprecedented change; consequently, a major goal of our search was finding a leader who could reimagine the traditional trade association model,” said Wavemaker US CEO and AAF Board Chair Amanda Richman. “Steve is a marketing innovator who embodies everything required to grow our organization. His commitment to diversity, creativity and trust will be essential in continuing our work as the unifying voice of advertising.”

Pacheco joins the AAF from Ducks Unlimited, where he was Chief Marketing Officer. He brings 30 years of industry experience to his role, more than 20 of which were spent at FedEx as managing director of advertising and sponsorship marketing. There, he produced a bevy of award-winning work, including more than a dozen Super Bowl commercials, as well as FedExCup, NFL and NASCAR advertising campaigns. Previously, he worked for International Paper as Director of Advertising and Marketing Communications, where he directed the company’s 1996 Summer Olympics sponsorship. He was also a partner in a Memphis-based advertising and design agency, Humphreys Ink. Pacheco is the first AAF president & CEO to have held an active leadership role at every level of the organization, beginning in 1984 at the collegiate level, then president of the Memphis Advertising Federation in 1991 and rising to chairman of the AAF National Board of Directors in 2011. In 2013, he received the AAF Barton A. Cummings Gold Medal Award and was also named The ADVERTISING Club of New York’s “Advertising Person of the Year.”

“I have been deeply connected to the AAF and its mission throughout my career in advertising – it has been my North Star,” said Pacheco. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to take on a role that’s so integral in setting a high standard for the values of advertising, connecting the talent that drives it, and progressing the issues that will evolve the industry for the better. I’m honored to assume the responsibility. I will continue to be passionate about advertising and the AAF in this new role.”