Research Now SSI Leadership

Gary S. Laben

Chief Executive Officer  

 


Gary has more than 25 years of executive leadership and experience in leveraging data to power marketing decisions for the world’s best-known brands, and has a track record of growing businesses organically and through acquisition in the fast-moving world of data-driven marketing. He has been actively involved in the marketing services community, volunteering in various leadership roles with organizations such as Marketing Edge, the Taylor Institute for Director Marketing, and the Direct Marketing Association. For his industry achievements, he has been honored by Marketing Edge (the Edward N. Mayer Jr. Education Leadership Award) and the Direct Marketing Club of New York (Silver Apple Award). Before joining Research Now in 2016, Gary was Global Chief Data Officer of Wunderman and CEO of KBM Group. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Stephen DeCosta

Co-Chief Financial Officer



Stephen oversees finance, accounting, tax and treasury. He joined Research Now in 2011 as the Corporate Controller and was promoted to Senior Vice President, Finance in 2013 prior to being appointed global CFO in 2015. He has extensive experience in finance and accounting, holding varied and progressive roles across private equity, publicly traded companies and public accounting. Before joining the company, he served as Corporate Controller and later as divisional CFO at THQ Inc., a publicly traded global video game publisher and developer. Previously, Stephen led the corporate finance function of Advanced Structures Inc. He started his career in public accounting, having been licensed as a CPA. Stephen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Accounting from California State University, Northridge.

Rick EssexRick Essex

Co-Chief Financial Officer



Rick has been involved with the company since 2005 as a member of the board of directors. He joined SSI full time as CFO in 2012. He has extensive experience in finance and accounting, holding varied and progressive roles across private equity, investment banking and public accounting. Prior to joining SSI, he served as a Principal at Providence Equity Partners, the world’s largest sector-focused private equity firm, focusing on investments in media, communications, and information services. Prior to Providence, Rick served as a Vice President at BCI Partners and held positions with Dillon Read (now UBS) and Arthur Andersen. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University.

Kalyan Raman

Chief Technology Officer



Kalyan has more than 15 years of experience in technology related to data, analytics and insights. Prior to joining Research Now, Kalyan was CTO of the global buy business for The Nielsen Company, serving their CPG and retail clients. Before Nielsen, he was with Tata Consultancy Services as Business Intelligence and Performance Management Practice leader supporting various clients in North America. Kalyan graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a PhD in Mathematics. His research interests include optimization, machine learning, data integration and high performance computational platforms. He has won various awards, including the Arthur C. Nielsen Award for outstanding leadership, and was selected as part of the “Top 100 under 50” for executive leadership in 2014 by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Ashlin QuirkAshlin Quirk

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary



Ashlin Quirk joined SSI as General Counsel and Secretary in 2012. She has almost 20 years of legal experience, specializing in privacy and advertising/marketing law for the last 13 years of her career. Immediately prior to joining SSI, she was Privacy and Data Protection Counsel for MasterCard responsible for ensuring legal compliance with applicable privacy laws in connection with MasterCard’s global marketing initiatives. Ashlin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University.

Melanie Courtright

EVP, Global Research Science



Since joining the company in 2011, Melanie has played an integral role shaping a team that is passionate about research sampling, quality and world-class client service. She has spent more than two decades designing, executing, and interpreting research for agencies and corporations, having started her career at a full-service research firm in Dallas where she developed a strong research background. Melanie followed that with a decade specializing in all forms of digital research including online, mobile and social. An industry voice regarding market research trends, she serves on several quality councils where she contributes to standards and codes of conduct; serves as President of the Southwest Chapter of the MRA; and is a U.S. representative to ESOMAR, among other activities. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Dallas Baptist University.

Bob FawsonBob Fawson

EVP, Product Development



Prior to SSI, Bob served as Chief Access, Supply and Engagement Officer at Opinionology, which later joined with Survey Sampling International to form SSI. While at Opinionology, he expanded the company's portfolio of online sampling methods and improved methods for managing online panel inventories. Known for his expertise across diverse topics – from panel recruiting and sample routing to Address-Based Sampling – Bob is a frequent speaker at market research events. He first joined Opinionology to manage its online client service and project management teams. He earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Applied Economics from Utah State University.

Michel Guidi

EVP, Managing Director, International



Michel is working with SSI’s global business teams to provide the best experience to SSI’s Customers and help them grow and be successful. Before taking on the role in 2017, he has been in charge of SSI's fast and steady growth in Europe for over eleven years, creating eleven SSI offices in nine countries across the continent. During that time, on top of his Managing Director role in Europe, he also spent one year developing SSI's APAC business, and two and a half years leading SSI's Professional Services organization. Prior to joining SSI, he was Vice President of Operations at Ciao for over five years, based in Madrid – making him a 17-year online data collection veteran. Previously, he worked as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney, and a junior brand manager at L’Oréal. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from ESSEC in Paris. 

Ryan Jantz

EVP, Panel and Partnerships



Ryan leads a global team responsible for panel recruitment, engagement and retention. He works across Research Now’s traditional online and integrated panels and initiates partnerships with global brands for access to their rewards and loyalty members. He also develops survey populations in emerging growth areas such as mobile, cookied and behavioral panels. Having built one of the broadest offerings of B2B and B2C data, he oversees the profiling and segmentation of Research Now’s data, ensuring its value as a core asset of the company. Along with this, Ryan spearheads the quality of the panel data via a comprehensive system of maintenance and fraud prevention. Since joining the company in 2007, Ryan has served in various areas across the business, including sales, innovation and finance. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Baylor University.

Tom Johnson

EVP, Sales & Customer Experience, Americas



Tom is a seasoned sales executive and sales organization leader, with experience selling to global 500 clients in B2B information and market research. He leads all client development activities in the U.S. and Canada, driving sales execution and new business development efforts, while building collaborative and productive relationships across the company, with the services, product and marketing organizations. Tom brings over 20 years of experience to results-driven, strategic business development. Prior to joining Research Now, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Sales Strategy for Interactive Data Corporation (IDC). Previously, Tom was Senior Vice President of North American Sales and Client Services for Survey Sampling Inc. (SSI) and was with Gartner, Inc. where he was Group Vice President, North American Consulting. Tom holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Barbara Palmer

EVP, Marketing



Barbara leads global marketing with a threefold mission: to build awareness of the company’s brand; support business development and lead generation; and oversee marketing communications for new and existing data solutions. Focused on results-driven integrated marketing and content that educates and builds business relationships, she ensures all marketing activities have a consistent strategic focus worldwide. She brings extensive experience in marketing for data and technology companies, and has worked with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups. Previously, she was Senior Vice President, Marketing, at Wunderman and headed marketing at KBM Group. She also established Palmer Communications, and was a B2B Vice President, Group Manager at Cohn & Wolfe. Barbara has a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, where she majored in Journalism.

Mary RusterholzMary Rusterholz

EVP, Talent Management



Prior to joining SSI in 2012, Mary spent 14 years with Affinion Group where she held the role of Executive Vice President, Support Services and Senior Vice President, Human Resources. She was responsible for global human resources and facilities management, supporting 4,500 employees across the US and 12 European countries. Before Affinion, she spent 14 years with French-owned group DANONE in their US Water Division as Vice President Human Resources. Within the Dairy Division, where she held multiple roles including Manager of Organization Development, charged with driving efficiency in structure and process. Mary earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Human Resource Management from Pace University, New York.

Mark SlobbeMark Slobbe

EVP, Operations



Mark held several roles in operations in London and Madrid. In 2009, he moved up the ranks to operations director Europe. In 2012, Mark moved to the US where he was responsible for leading operations for strategic partnerships and in 2015 took on the responsibility for the end-to-end project management team in North America. Before SSI, Mark worked for five years at GDCC managing the professional services team. Mark holds an MBA from INHolland, The Netherlands and studied Social Cultural Anthropology at the VU in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.