ASA appoints top advertiser to ruling body

The Advertising Standards Authority, under fire for not having a

broad enough breadth of industry experience on its ruling council, has

appointed the boss of one of the UK's biggest advertisers and a leading

agency executive as members.



Dianne Thompson, the chief executive of the National Lottery operator

Camelot, joins the watchdog body along with Dan O'Donoghue, the Publicis

worldwide strategic planning director.



They replace Hugh Burkitt, chairman of Burkitt DDB, and Peter Mitchell,

a director of Capital Radio and former director of strategic affairs at

Guinness. Both are stepping down at the end of their six-year term of

office.



The appointments are the first to be made by Lord Borrie since he became

chairman of the ASA in January.



They come in the wake of criticism led by Vanessa Hall-Smith, the media

lawyer, that the background of industry council members has not kept

pace with the ASA's expanding remit, resulting in some questionable

decisions.



Borrie has rejected the claim, arguing that additional membership of the

council would double its size if the 1:2 ratio of industry to lay

members was to be maintained.



Gary Ward, the ASA's head of communications, said: 'These appointments

are not a response to criticism. Lord Borrie has been aware since he

joined the ASA that two council members would have to leave by June and

the replacements are people of enormous experience.'



Thompson, 50, a former head of marketing at Woolworths and the Signet

group, made headlines when she successfully led Camelot's legal

fightback against Richard Branson's attempt to take over the National

Lottery.



O'Donoghue, 54, who is regarded as one of the most cerebral of backroom

figures at Publicis, is a former joint chief executive of the London

agency.



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