Chris Williams leaves Association of Canadian Advertisers

Chris Williams, one of Canada’s most vocal and influential voices on all things digital media and marketing, has left the Association of Canadian Advertisers.

Williams, who was vice-president of digital for the association, announced his departure on LinkedIn last week.

“I was coming up on my four-year anniversary and decided it was time,” he told The Message. “I’ve learned a great deal and thank the ACA for opening the door to see the industry from the marketer’s perspective.”

He declined to say much about what he plans to do next. “I’m having some front yard chats, which is about as close to a real meeting as you get these days,” he said.

ACA president and CEO Ron Lund said the search for Williams’ replacement has just begun. “I’m sorry we’ve lost him,” said Lund. “We’re quite thankful for the contributions that he’s made… in terms of contributing to our publications and in terms of the depth of our thinking in all things digital.”

Williams joined the ACA in 2016 after more than 14 years at IAB Canada, bringing with him a wealth of experience and deep understanding of the importance of digital media in marketing.

“I don’t think this is a position where there’s like 50 people already lined up who could take the role over,” said Lund of the challenges in finding someone to replace Williams.

Williams was often outspoken and did not shy away from sharing opinions, and as a leading digital media expert with an association that contributed to international initiatives like the World Federation of Advertisers, his voice was often heard on the world stage.

He was often the point person on efforts to address some of the thorniest issues of digital media and marketing, including challenges with programmatic advertising and related issues of digital media transparency.

“I was fortunate to be there when ACA joined the Media Rating Council and I hope the Canadian media industry follows that lead towards better media measurement and operations across all media,” said Williams.

Cross media measurement will remain a “preoccupation” for the ACA, said Lund, including working with the World Federation of Advertisers and its efforts to establish shared systems and best practices to ensure marketers understand how their budgets are being used across all media.

David Brown