ARLINGTON, VA - September 2, 2009 – The Board of Directors of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has named Stephen A. Cox as President and CEO. Founded in 1912, BBB is the nation's oldest trust organization, with 124 BBBs serving communities across the U.S. and Canada. BBB evaluates and monitors more than four million local and national businesses and charities, and more than 400,000 businesses are now BBB Accredited Businesses. The organization also oversees advertising industry self-regulation efforts, from children's marketing standards to direct response advertising, and enjoys a mutually supportive relationship with more than 200 corporate partners.
Cox has served as the Council’s Vice President of Communications since July 2006. He will assume leadership of the organization effective October 8 - at the conclusion of BBB’s International Assembly in Boston - replacing Steven J. Cole, who is retiring after 22 years with the Council, first as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and for the past four years as President and CEO.
“Steve Cox is an outstanding choice to lead our organization as we approach our 100th year anniversary of driving marketplace trust. I've seen him in action, and he gets results,” said Pete Blackshaw, Chairman, Council Board of Directors. “In partnership with outgoing CEO Steve Cole, he's already laid an impressive foundation for BBB's digital future, launched outstanding new products and services, and has elevated our standing and stature across the marketplace. His ethics are without peer and I'm excited to work with Steve to lay a foundation for BBB's next 100 years.”
Cox has grown Council communications activities into a multi-faceted operation. His efforts have been instrumental in the success of the ongoing BBB system re-branding effort, launched in October 2007, and in redesigning the BBB International Torch Awards program, now a signature marketplace trust-focused national event held annually in Washington, DC.
“Business and charity leaders, and consumers and donors all inherently understand the requirement for trust in today’s marketplace – trust serves as both a moral and economic foundation,” said Cox. “Together, in serving with our BBB leaders, National Advertising Review Council partners, BBB Wise Giving Alliance team and corporate partners, I look forward to continuing our work in addressing the challenge of building a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other.”
Prior to joining the Council, Cox worked for Booz, Allen, Hamilton – a global strategy and technology consulting firm. In 2005, he retired from the United States Marine Corps after 23 years. During the 1990-1991 Gulf War he received the Bronze Star Medal for valor in combat during the liberation of Kuwait City. Following the events of 9/11, he served as a Marine Corps spokesperson for the first deployment of U.S. forces to Afghanistan. He was then assigned as the first U.S. spokesperson for terrorist detainee operations at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later deployed as the first U.S. spokesperson for Coalition counter-terrorism operations in the seven-country Horn of Africa region. In his last assignment, he served as the Director of Community Relations for the Marine Corps, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
For the past six years, Cox has also worked with the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s United States Senate Youth Program. Annually, he leads a team in managing daily operations and mentoring more than 100 of the nation’s top high school students while coordinating activities with staffs at the White House, Supreme Court, Senate and Departments of Defense, State and Justice.
Cox is originally from Memphis, TN and a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has also earned a Master’s Degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland (University College).
Outgoing President and CEO Steve Cole has enjoyed a distinguished career with the Council since 1987. With the rise of the Internet in the mid-1990’s, he is credited with spearheading the creation of BBBOnLine, the organization’s trustmark program that continues to provide today’s online marketplace with support in identifying and engaging trustworthy businesses. As President and CEO, Cole led the BBB system through far reaching organizational changes, including a revitalization and repositioning of the BBB brand; the creation of an integrated network of BBB Web sites that are now receiving more than four million unique visitors per month, and growing rapidly; the development and implementation of BBB Accreditation for those businesses meeting and upholding BBB Standards for Trust; and the establishment of a unique self-regulation program for the marketing of food and beverages to children.
“I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished, and am confident that Steve Cox will lead BBB to many future successes. BBB is needed more than ever, and is in position to play the leading role in advancing trust in the rapidly changing marketplace," said, Cole. “The opportunity to work with thousands of passionate professionals across the BBB system and with our corporate partners and colleagues at the National Advertising Review Council on so many important projects, programs and initiatives has been an honor and privilege.”
BBB, the leader in advancing marketplace trust, is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is a difference in viewpoints. The organization is also a recognized leader in developing and administering self-regulation programs for the business community, and, with respect to the advertising industry, does that through a joint venture in conjunction with National Advertising Review Council partners. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 124 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.cleveland.bbb.org for more information about BBB.