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David Williams

Director, Dentsu International
David Williams

David Williams is a member of the Board of Directors for dentsu International, the international business of Dentsu group, headquartered in Japan. As Director, he is central to the deliberation, governance, and strategy of the global enterprise, which includes three lines of business: creative, media, and customer experience management. As part of the board, he is also a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions Committee, as well as the deputy chair of the Data and Technology Committee.

David joined dentsu as part of its 2016 acquisition of Merkle, the database marketing business that David originally acquired in 1988, becoming its 24th employee. He served as Chairman and CEO of Merkle from 1988 to September 2020. Today, Merkle has more than 9,600 employees in locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia and is one of the largest customer experience management (CXM) companies in the world. Prior to assuming his role on the dentsu Board of Directors, David sat on the Global Executive Committee for dentsu International and served as Chairman of its Americas business.  

In its 32 years under David’s leadership, Merkle sustained double-digit annual growth and is the only agency that has been recognized by Forrester Research across every aspect of the customer journey: customer engagement strategy, marketing and database operations, search marketing, and loyalty solutions. In 2020, Advertising Age ranked Merkle as the 11th largest agency in the US, the 4th largest CRM/Direct Marketing agency globally, and the 9th largest US digital agency and 14th worldwide. David was recognized by Winning Workplaces and Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Best Bosses of 2006, and was the 2007 Maryland Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. 

David is the author of the book, Connected CRM: Implementing a Data-Driven, Customer-Centric Business Strategy, which was published in 2014 by Wiley Publishing. In the book, he shares his knowledge and experience, with the intent of helping world-class brands build stronger, more profitable relationships with their customers.

David served for three years on the board of directors for the Ad Council (2015-2017) and for six years (2006-2011) on the board of directors of the Direct Marketing Association, where he also sat on its Executive Committee. He also spent three years (2010-2013) as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Howard County General Hospital: A Member of John Hopkins Medicine. He is also Chairman and CEO of MRE Capital, his private investment vehicle.

He began his career at Butcher & Singer, a Philadelphia-based investment bank, and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. David is married, has five children, and lives in Annapolis Maryland.