ABC Board Elects New Leaders

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Arlington Heights, Ill.–The board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations has elected Sunni Boot, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Canada, as its new chairman. Boot joined the ABC board in 2008 and previously served as chairman of the ABC Canada Board Committee. She replaces outgoing chairman Merle Davidson of JCPenney Inc., who held the role for three years. Davidson will continue his involvement with ABC as a director representing U.S. advertisers.

“I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be leading such an auspicious and respected body,” Boot said. “It’s an exciting time to serve on the ABC board, a unique tripartite organization that serves so many so well. As we continue to strengthen our leadership role in digital auditing and multimedia reporting, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.” Boot is the organization’s first female board leader.

Replacing Boot as chairman of ABC Canada’s Board Committee is Shelagh Stoneham, vice president of brand and marketing communications at Rogers Communications Inc.

“Sunni and Shelagh are strong leaders in the buying community,” said Mike Lavery, ABC president and managing director. “They have exactly the kind of tenacity and expertise ABC and our members need as we navigate the confluence of print and digital media.”

Lavery added: “We certainly want to thank Merle Davidson for his outstanding leadership these past three years. His tenure saw ABC navigate and implement sweeping rule changes for U.S. newspapers, the launch of the Consolidated Media Report and a new strategic plan that expands ABC’s role in digital media.” 

Members also re-elected 22 directors to serve new terms on the ABC board and elected three new representatives: Liberta Abbondante, senior vice president of consumer marketing at Hearst, representing U.S. magazines; Jeffrey Holecko, North American media manager at Kimberly-Clark, representing U.S. advertisers; and Kenneth Whyte, president of Rogers Media, publishing, representing Canadian periodicals.

ABC also announced the following directors will serve as vice chairmen of the ABC board for a one-year term: David Leckey, American Media Inc.; Christina Meringolo, Merck Consumer Care; Suzanne Silber, Optimedia; and Shelagh Stoneham, Rogers Communications Inc.

Rob Fisher of American City Business Journals will serve as the 2012 board secretary and Scott Heekin-Canedy of the New York Times will fulfill the role of treasurer.

The ABC board of directors meeting was held Nov. 9-11 in San Francisco, Calif., in conjunction with ABC’s annual conference.



ABC is a forum of North America’s leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process. ABC maintains the world’s foremost online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and website usage data. ABC’s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is one of the world’s leading independent auditors of websites and digital ad-based technology. To learn more, visit

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