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B to B magazine reports:

The Direct Marketing Association has named former direct advertising agency executive Larry Kimmel as its new CEO. He will succeed Robert "Bob" Allen, who served as interim president-CEO since February.

Kimmel will assume his new duties Aug. 2, and will be based in DMA's New York headquarters.

"I don't think there has ever been a more exciting or challenging time to be in marketing, with the demand for information, collaboration and involvement with the legislative process more important than ever," Kimmel told BtoB. "As a result, the role of our association is more critical now than it has been in years past."

Kimmel said DMA's profile in the industry has become more prominent as much of the marketing process has become direct.

"So having won the competition for the best go-to-market strategy, we now have to help people understand what's next," he said.

Kimmel said his most immediate goal is to promote DMA 2010, the association's annual conference and expo scheduled for Oct. 9-14 in San Francisco.

Until 2008, Kimmel was chairman-CEO of G2 Direct & Digital and its earlier incarnation, Grey Direct. Kimmel became chairman-CEO of Grey Direct in 2000, and previously served in other executive capacities at the agency. Prior to Grey, he spent seven years in senior management at direct agency Draft Worldwide, now Draftfcb.

DMA chairman Steven Dapper, chairman and founder of agency Hawkeye, said of Kimmel in a statement: "He will bring to DMA an extraordinary depth of global experience, a strong management capability and powerful insights into the evolving and exhilarating direct and digital marketplaces."

DMA's leadership ranks have experienced a series of shakeups over the past year. Its previous permanent CEO-president, John A. Greco, resigned in January over criticism of his operational policies, and was succeeded by Allen.

The DMA chairmanship became vacant when Eugene R. Raitt, senior VP-accident and health and CMO, Asia for Allied World Assurance Co., resigned from that position in April for personal reasons and was succeeded the next month by Dapper.