4A’s names Alison Pepper as EVP–Government Relations

Pepper succeeds Dick O’Brien, who retires after 19 years of industry advocacy


WASHINGTON, April 30, 2020 — The 4A’s has named Alison Pepper as its EVP–Government Relations, promoted from her role as 4A’s SVP–Government Relations.

Pepper succeeds Dick O’Brien, who has announced his retirement after 19 years in this role, where he was the 4A’s principal representative to the White House, Congress, and regulatory agencies.

Pepper has represented thousands of companies on public policy issues around media, data, privacy, and technology. Since joining the 4A’s, she has led the industry’s response to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the state and local data-privacy legislation emerging in its wake.

As a key player in the Privacy for America coalition, she has helped write proposed legislation for key committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, urging for federal data privacy legislation.

Pepper is also closely involved in 4A’s new Business as Unusual webinar series, deciphering the complex U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its implications for agency members. 

Prior to joining the 4A’s in early 2018, Pepper served as the Assistant General Counsel and Senior Director of Public Policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), based out of its offices in Washington, D.C., and later San Francisco.

“In a time of crisis, you couldn’t ask for a better navigator and interpreter than Alison,” Marla Kaplowitz, 4A’s President & CEO, said. “She continues to provide a critical role for our members in helping guide them on how to move their businesses forward through so much confusion. Plus, she has a natural ability to explain complex legislation in a way that makes the information perfectly clear and actionable.”

O’Brien, the outgoing EVP–Government Relations, quickly established his credentials as an industry leader on legislation affecting the marketing industry, focusing on public policy issues at the intersection of privacy, technology, media, and data after joining the 4A’s in 2001.

He played a leading role in the successful cross-industry resistance to a proposed 2017 change in the corporate tax code that would have ended the full deductibility of advertising. The effort saved the marketing industry an estimated $169 billion over 10 years on advertising costs.

He also led 4A’s and the marketing industry’s efforts to create federal standards for the collection and use of consumer data in targeting advertising.

Among other initiatives while at the 4A’s, O’Brien organized a cross-industry coalition to protect members from the extortionate tactics of patent trolls and played a leading role in protecting the industry’s ability to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers.

“Dick leaves a rich legacy of impact from the various coalitions he’s represented on behalf of the 4A’s to the connections with industry influencers,” Kaplowitz said. “It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know Dick over the past few years. We have all been fortunate to benefit from his diplomacy, perspective, and sage advice, as he’s well respected by members, industry partners, and key people in Washington.”

He has held several advertising management roles. At Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, he was named Vice Chairman, Director of Worldwide Client Services; Worldwide Account Director for Procter & Gamble; and Director of Global Business Development. He also had a seat on Saatchi’s Board of Directors.

O’Brien has devoted much of his energy to voluntarism, as the secretary/treasurer of PRO-AD PAC, the extended advertising community’s political action committee. He also has served on the Boards of the Coalition for Better Advertising and the Digital Advertising Alliance. O’Brien, an ardent supporter of Special Olympics, was on its Board from its inception through its first 15 years.



Jennifer Risi, The Sway Effect
[email protected]