The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s long-serving chief executive, Guy Phillipson, has ended his tenure at the digital marketing trade body.

Phillipson, who has served at the group for nearly 12 years, will step down from the position in January 2017, with intentions to continue involvement in an advisory, non-executive role.

Since his appointment in 2005, Phillipson has helmed the Bureau throughout explosive growth in online advertising – a period that has seen spend in the sector rise from £825 million to £8.6 billion last year.

In terms of performance-based marketing, a degree of its legitimacy and mainstream adoption can be owed to Phillipson’s endeavours into best practice, standardisation of audience measurement, brand safety and privacy.

“For me, leading the IAB has been the most rewarding and exhilarating job in the world, navigating the growth of video, social, mobile and programmatic advertising – none of which really existed when I took over,” Phillipson said.  

‘Not taken lightly’

He further commented that the decision was not one taken lightly, given the advanced stage of UK digital marketing and the vital role it plays in the success of the vast majority of ad campaigns, adding that “the time feels right” to depart.

IAB chairman Richard Eyre, CBE, said the departing chief executive had “transformed” the IAB into a “model trade organisation” touting the membership of some 1,200 businesses, contributing to a consistent role in building confidence in online marketing.

“He has achieved this with tenacity, humanity and a lot of laughs. His place in the history of online advertising is assured. We’ll all miss him, but he’s played a blinder.”

The IAB UK has stated that it will be considering both internal and external applications for the position of CEO, and plans to line up Phillipson’s successor before the end of 2016.