Dick O’Brien, based in Washington, D.C., is the 4A’s principal representative to the White House, Congress and regulatory agencies.
Currently, O’Brien is at the helm of the 4A’s efforts against proposed new government restrictions on the collection and use of consumer data in targeting advertising. These new restrictions have gained urgency because of such high profile developments as GDPR, Cambridge Analytica, and the California privacy legislation.
Most recently, he led the 4A’s successful resistance to a proposed change in the treatment of advertising in the new corporate tax code—a change which would have resulted in a $169 billion increase in the cost of advertising over the next ten years.
O’Brien has held several advertising management roles, first at Grey Advertising and later at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide. During his tenure at Saatchi, he was named vice chairman, director of Worldwide Client Services, worldwide account director for Procter & Gamble and director of global business development, in addition to sitting on their Board of Directors.
On a volunteer basis, O’Brien has served for more than 10 years as the secretary/treasurer of PRO-AD PAC, the extended advertising community’s political action committee. He also sits on the Boards of the Coalition for Better Advertising and the Digital Advertising Alliance.
An ardent supporter of Special Olympics, he was on its Board from its inception through its first 15 years. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of William James College.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, an MA from Indiana University and an MBA from Columbia University.