UPDATED: Acxiom Names Former Microsoft Exec Scott Howe as CEO

Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock on Wednesday named Scott Howe, a former Microsoft Advertising Business Groups vice president, as its new president and CEO.

At a news conference Wednesday at its corporate headquarters in downtown Little Rock, interim CEO Jerry Gramaglia said the data services company was seeking two qualities in a new chief executive: business leadership with a track record of growth and experience in digital advertising and marketing. 

"We all really look forward to Scott’s leadership," Gramaglia said.

Howe, 43, succeeds former Acxiom president and CEO John Meyer, who resigned earlier this year from the data services company. He comes to Acxiom after four years as an executive with Microsoft Advertising Business Groups in Seattle.

(More: Read more about Howe's professional background.)

"It’s an exciting day for me, taking this opportunity to work for such a talented organization," Howe said. "It’s impossible to be in the marketing business and not know Acxiom."

Howe explained his view of marketing as "simple," noting that having great clients and making sure they are cared for are important.

"I am still trying to find my sea legs," Howe said. "But in the coming months, I’ll ensure we have a strategy moving forward."

Howe described two major goals he has for Acxiom: First, he wants to keep a "maniacal" focus on the corporation’s major clients.

"They have gotten us to this point, and we’d like to stay partnered for the future," he said.

Second, he hopes to increase the company’s transparency, both interior and exterior.

He also described his ambitions for the company’s future.

"I want to cement our place as thought leaders in the industry," he said. "I want Acxiom to be part of the conversation. I want Acxiom to lead discoveries." 

Digital Leader

Acxiom said that while at Microsoft, Howe "managed a multi-billion dollar business related to online advertising, including search, display, ad networks, in-game, mobile, digital cable and a variety of enterprise software applications."

Before working there, he was an executive at aQuantive, an interactive company Microsoft bought in 2007.

Acxiom had signaled that it was looking for a chief executive with experience in the digital realm, one who could negotiate a marketing world that has been transformed by the Internet, social media, smartphones, tablet computers and mobile apps.

Michael J. Durham, Acxiom’s non-executive chairman, said Acxiom's board unanimously selected Howe because of his experience in blue-chip professional services and global online advertising.

"Scott has repeatedly demonstrated a creative and innovative capacity for the development, launch and delivery of new products and services, creating significant business results," Durham said in a news release. "He has extensive digital marketing and technology experience, and is a passionate executive with infectious energy and leadership abilities.

"Scott is a valuable addition to Acxiom with a vision for success for the company, its clients and associates."

At aQuantive, Howe managed three lines of business, including Avenue A|Razorfish; DRIVE Performance Media, now Microsoft Media Network; and Atlas International, a top application for enterprise software for advertising. Earlier in his career, he was with The Boston Consulting Group and Kidder Peabody & Company Inc.

Howe's LinkedIn profile lists him as a founder of King of the Web, which launched in beta in March and is billed as a "portfolio of online game shows with heavy emphasis on user generated content and social media connectivity." It says the company's first game is scheduled for public release in early 2011.

Acxiom (Nasdaq: ACXM) employs about 6,800 worldwide, including more than 2,150 in Arkansas.

(More: Acxiom has also released its first quarter results Wednesday, reporting a 12 percent increase in profit.)