In today’s brand-centric economy, a company's reputation can rise or plunge in an instant with dramatic and lasting business impact. 

Thanks to real-time social media and instant information, a brand disaster - ranging from ad placement near illegal or offensive content to association with digital criminals - can translate into an immediate loss of sales and long-term damage to customer relationships. 

Despite the importance of brand protection, however, too few professionals have been given the training, expertise, relationships, and resources necessary to evaluate and defend against wide-ranging and fast-changing threats. 

The Brand Safety Institute was founded to professionalize and advance the executive capacity needed at every company to protect their brands through research, accreditation, networking, and education. 

By accrediting Brand Safety Officers and providing them with relevant information, expertise, and connections, the Brand Safety Institute will help a community of brand leaders safeguard both their own brands and the broader digital advertising supply chain.



Mike Zaneis


Mike Zaneis is the Co-Founder of the Brand Safety Institute, which is the culmination of a career focused on improving the digital advertising ecosystem. In addition, he has served as the CEO of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) since July 2015, leading TAG’s efforts to eradicate digital advertising fraud, malware, ad-supported piracy, and to increase transparency across the digital advertising supply chain. Under his leadership, TAG’s programs have proven successful in stopping 85% of advertisng fraud and removing 90% of ads from pirate sites in the United States. TAG has launched these successful programs globally, serving more than 500 member companies in 28 countries and 6 continents.

Prior to taking the helm at TAG, Mike served as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). He created the organization’s first Public Policy Office, headquartered in Washington, D.C. During his tenure, the IAB tripled its revenue and membership, and under his guidance, the Public Policy Office grew to become the leading voice for the digital advertising industry on legislative, regulatory, and legal issues. He often represented the industry before the United States Congress, federal regulatory agencies, international legislative bodies, and at public conferences. As General Counsel for the IAB, Mike oversaw internal legal operations of the organization and provided leadership on key judicial proceedings impacting the interactive advertising industry.

Prior to joining IAB, Mike served as Executive Director of Technology and E-Commerce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest trade association. As the chief technology and telecommunications lobbyist, he oversaw issues affecting the business community pertaining to online and consumer privacy, data security, telecommunications, intellectual property, counterfeiting, piracy, and e-commerce. He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and both his Juris Doctor and Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University. Mike has served as an adjunct professor for Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy.


Neal Thurman


Neal Thurman brings many threads of his career together for the founding of the Brand Safety Institute.  His career started in Industrial Psychology managing major standardized tests and certification programs for higher education and professional organizations.  After receiving his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, he worked for digital agency Think New Ideas consulting to start-ups and Fortune 500 clients including Sony Electronics, UPS, Coca-Cola, Axciom, Hard Rock Café, and Fannie Mae on how to harness new digital technologies to enhance existing business models and create new ones.  

The entrepreneurial bug led to being on the founding team of two successful bootstrapped professional services start-ups – Customer Value Partners and Black Turtle Services – where he served in a variety of executive management roles including oversight of Product Development, Profitability, Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Contracts, Facilities, and IT while continuing to work with clients like AOL, Cricket Wireless, the McGraw-Hill Companies, and the US Federal Government on solving critical business problems. 

While helping build Customer Value Partners into an Inc 500-winning firm, he also co-founded a blog about English Premier League soccer that has moved from the Blogger platform to YahooUK to SBNation to the Rotoworld.com division of NBC Sports Digital.  In addition to his duties as Co-founder of the Brand Safety Institute and for Rotoworld, Neal serves as the Director of the Coalition for Better Ads championing customer experience in the digital advertising.   

Brand Safety Institute Board of Advisors

The Brand Safety Institute has named two dozen industry leaders as founding members of the BSI Board of Advisors, which will help design the brand safety curriculum for BSI's accreditation program for corporate executives. The new board includes senior executives focusing on brand safety and related issues from top trade associations – including the 4A's, IAB UK, IAB Tech Lab, ISBA, JICWEBS, and TAG – and companies – including Bank of America, Facebook, IPG Mediabrands, GroupM, and Pandora.

"If you want to establish a rigorous standard for brand safety knowledge and expertise, you need to consult with the industry leaders who have set the bar on those issues," said Neal Thurman, co-founder of BSI. "We are delighted to welcome a powerhouse panel of brand safety experts from across the digital advertising space to help us design a robust, impactful, and forward-thinking brand safety curriculum. Working together, we can give brand safety executives the information and tools they need to protect their brands – and our ecosystem – from the growing range of brand safety threats."

The Board chair is Rachel Nyswander Thomas, Chief Operating Officer at the Trustworthy Accountability Group.

Founding members of the BSI Board of Advisors include:

Joe Barone

Managing Partner, Digital Ad Operations
GroupM North America

Rob Beeler


Alisa Bergman

VP & Chief Privacy Officer

Jason Bier

EVP, Chief Data & Privacy Officer
Engine Group

Dennis Buchheim

IAB Tech Lab

Steve Chester

Director of Media

Scott Cunningham


Christine Desrosiers

Director, Revenue Systems & Programmatic

John DeVine

Head of Global Operations

Richard Foan

Executive Chairman

Harold Geller

Executive Director

Rachel Glasser

Chief Privacy Officer

Marc Goldberg

Trust Metrics

David Green

Vice President, Public Policy

Stacey Hultgren

Senior Manager, Ad Quality Measurement

Louis Jones

EVP, Media & Data

Jessica King

Senior Product Manager

Dallas Lawrence

Chief Communications & Brand Officer

Stephanie Layser

Vice President, Advertising Technology & Operations
News Corp

Joshua Lowcock

EVP, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer
UM (part of IPG Mediabrands)

Jon Mew


Jessica Morel

VP, Global Marketing
Oracle Data Cloud

David Murnick

EVP, Digital Operations and Technology Partnerships
Dentsu Aegis Group

John Murphy

Chief Quality Officer

Richard Murphy

BPA Worldwide

Rachel Nyswander Thomas

Chief Operating Officer
Trustworthy Accountability Group

Chris Olson

Co-Founder & CEO
The Media Trust

Terri Schriver

SVP, Enterprise Media
Bank of America

Sal Tripi

AVP, Digital Operations & Compliance
Publishers Clearing House

Kyle Turner

Senior Manager, Inventory Quality

Oliver von Wersch

Founder & CEO
vonwerschpartner Digital Strategies

Eric Warburton

VP, Ad Operations
Horizon Media