Hunt Is On for New Acxiom CEO

Acxiom Corp.'s board of directors will probably look outside the company for a CEO to replace the departed John A. Meyer, according to a report by analyst Dan Salmon of BMO Capital Markets.

(Click here to read more about what qualities the company will look for in its next CEO.)

But, according to Salmon's research note, internal candidates will be considered, including COO John Adams, Chief Sales Officer Shawn Donovan and board member Clark Kokich.

Kokich is former CEO and current chairman of Razorfish Inc. of Seattle, an interactive marketing agency owned by Publicis Groupe.

"Candidates with a strong background in digital media and marketing will be the focus and the ability to leverage both Acxiom's offline and online capabilities will be important," Salmon wrote.

Forrester Research Analyst Dave Frankland said he didn't know whether interim CEO Jerry Gramaglia, a former E*Trade executive who serves on Acxiom's board of directors, would be a likely candidate for the permanent position.

"I also don't even know if he has any interest," Frankland said. "My sense is, he's on the board, he's comfortable on the board, and he's stepped in [the interim CEO job] as a board member."

In a conference call regarding Meyer's replacement, Gramaglia twice said the board will seek a "thought leader."

Curiously, that's the term used to describe Gramaglia in a short biography on the Acxiom website: "As an industry thought leader he is a private investor and advisor to consumer-oriented technology start-ups, and recently served as partner for Arrowpath Venture Partners, a SiliconValley-based venture capital firm."

Whoever succeeds Meyer at Acxiom will likely have his or her hands full, as the digital marketing industry is constantly evolving.

In his own research note, Piper Jaffray analyst Mark Zgutowicz outlined other challenges facing Acxiom: "In the U.S., we believe Acxiom continues to see pressure from in-house adoption of database management and analytics solutions and faces challenges differentiating itself amidst a bevy of database/analytics providers," he wrote.