Appointment of new Legal Affairs Committee Chair

Kim Smouter will head one of the global organisation’s core committees, made up of the market research industry's leading data protection, compliance, and public affairs experts.
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Date 21 July
Author Claudio Gennaro

ESOMAR has appointed Kim Smouter, its former Head of Public Affairs and Professional Standards, to Chair its Legal Affairs Committee. Kim Smouter brings a wealth of experience to the Chair role, having served as ESOMAR's leading advocate in front of global legislators for over a decade. In this new role, he will apply his skills in organisational management, communications and strategic execution to lead the Committee in monitoring global regulations and laws that affect the market research industry, as well as educating and informing ESOMAR members about these issues.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kim back to ESOMAR as Chair of the LAC, heading up critical work that ensures our members globally have a good understanding of the trends and often nuanced requirements surrounding compliance and data protection,” said Kristin Luck, ESOMAR President. “Kim is perfectly suited for this role, given his long tenure with ESOMAR, his contributions to policy-driven advocacy work, comprehensive communications experience and a deep understanding of the many pivotal issues relating to legal affairs that directly affect our industry.”

 Composed of heads of legal affairs and compliance from the sector's leading companies, the Legal Affairs Committee is the insights and analytics industry's leading forum to discuss compliance best practice and promote the value of the sector in front of legislators worldwide. The Committee has been at the vanguard of the sector's efforts to ensure a favourable operating environment under the GDPR, monitoring evolutions on cross-Atlantic data transfers, informing the sector on data legislation evolutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the launch of innovative public-facing campaigns such as Research Choices.

Kim Smouter said, "With the appointment of Geraldine Proust earlier this year, the executive team at ESOMAR benefits from solid leadership in what promises to be a tumultuous time for data-driven organisations.  I am excited to be able to lend my expertise to ESOMAR, supporting its Professional Standards and Government Affairs team through an inspiring transitional moment within the association and the industry at large.  The challenges facing ethical data companies are immense and I look forward to working with the sector's leading firms to ensure we meet public expectations and chart a path forward for the industry that maintains its hard-earned public reputation.”

Smouter succeeds Mike Cooke, who served two consecutive terms as Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee (LAC), keeping the Committee afloat during COVID and making significant progress toward renewing and expanding the Legal Affairs Committee membership. Cooke has also spearheaded work in collaboration with ESOMAR’s Professional Standards Committee Chair, Judith Passingham, on the use of AI in the sector (work that will be presented at ESOMAR Congress in September). Following his two successful terms, ESOMAR warmly thanks Cooke for his commitment to the LAC. He has been instrumental in charting the future strategic direction of the Committee, which Smouter will continue to drive forward.

Claudio Gennaro
ESOMAR Staff, Senior Advocacy Programmes Coordinator at ESOMAR