Stocker wins BMRA chair after first contested election

LONDON - Former NOP chairman Ivor Stocker has won the first contested election for chairman of the British Market Research Association, beating current deputy chairman Peter Hodgson.

Stocker will take up his post in January replacing Peter Jackling, who is stepping down after serving the maximum two-year term.

Stocker and Hodgson unveiled their campaigns to take the top job at the BMRA in November, with their positions on the development of a single market research organisation dominating the election.

The BMRA, Market Research Society and Association of Users of Research Agencies are currently working together to develop a single structure to reflect the needs of the market research industry as a whole and deliver a more unified voice for the industry with improved leadership, direction and focus on external issues.

Hodgson envisaged a potential problem in a single organisation because the MRS is by far the largest organisation and "a federation might in effect be little more than a takeover," he warned.

Stocker took a more positive stance arguing that there were areas of common ground between the two groups: code of conduct, data protection issues and employer/employee legislation and that they should be under one roof.

At the same time, Susan Blackall of Research International, Rowland Lloyd of Ipsos, Tony Wornell of Business Development Research Consultants and Richard Sheldrake of Perspective were elected as representatives from agencies with a turnover in excess of £2m.

Council representatives from agencies with billings of less than £2m include Nick Coates of FreshMinds, Neil Grantham of WDG Research, Ray Tiwari of Focused Sales Marketing, Jonathan Wheeler of Westcombe and Derek Jones of Acuigen.

The race is also on for the top job at the MRS after nominations were thrown open for the position of chairman of the council last month.

Taylor Nelson Sofres' Jennie Beck and ESA Market Research's Tony Keen, current chairwoman and honorary secretary-treasurer respectively, are not eligible for re-election after serving two years.

Nominations for the honorary secretary-treasurer and council members are also up for grabs. The elections will take place in early 2005 with winning positions being taken up from April 1.

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