Charles D. Peebler Jr., retired chairman emeritus of True North Communications Inc., is now managing director of Plum Capital L.L.C., a venture capital firm concentrating on media content investments. He is in the process of winding down the activities on Plum I and will be a venture partner in Plum II.
Peebler began his advertising career with Bozell & Jacobs in Omaha, Nebraska in 1958 and became president in 1965. During Peebler's more than 30 years of stewardship at Bozell & Jacobs, he became the longest-serving chief executive at a major U.S. agency. Bozell & Jacobs grew from a small, patriarchal, family-owned midwestern agency with billings of barely $20 million into one of the nation’s premier marketing communications companies. During his career, Peebler has been directly involved in the management of accounts in most major consumer businesses.
By 1997 following a long period of new client wins, mergers and acquisitions, Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt stood as a worldwide agency network with billings of $4.3 billion. In December 1997 True North Communications acquired BJK&E - and Peebler was named president of the merged company. He remained president until April 1999, when he became chairman emeritus. True North had billings of approximately $14 billion and 12,000 employees in 300 offices. True North has since then been acquired by the Interpublic Group of Companies.
Peebler was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and attended Drake University, where he now serves on the board of trustees. He started his career in retailing, as assistant to the executive vice president and general manager of J.L. Brandeis & Sons, a department store in Omaha.
He has served on the boards of the American Advertising Federation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Advertising Council and as chair of the Professionals in Advertising Political Action Committee. Peebler’s current corporate board affiliations include Meredith Corporation, Valmont Industries, HotLink Inc., Eos International, Inc. and AvalonBay Communities Inc. After 12 years on the board of the Chief Executives Organization and having served as president of this worldwide executive group, Peebler retired from the board of the organization in October of 2004.
Peebler is honorary chairman of the board of the American Craft Museum. Among his past not-for-profit board memberships include such organizations as the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Committee for Central Park Conservancy as well as the Advisory Board of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He currently serves on the boards of the Eisenhower Medical Center, the McCullum Theatre and the Valley Club.
Peebler was recently diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a little recognized brain disorder, which has only 20,000 known cases in the U.S. As a result, he has started the Peebler PSP Research Foundation Inc. to fund research projects on PSP, of which Peebler serves as president.
Peebler was recognized and honored at his home in Hailey, Idaho on June 17, 2008, for his support to find a cure for PSP. Over the last few years, despite his illness, Peebler and his wife Toni have worked tirelessly to raise money for research and to support education through their foundation, the Peebler PSP Research Foundation (www.peeblerpspresearch.org) and CurePSP – the Society for Progressive Supernuclear Palsy (www.curepsp.org). Since 2005, the Peebler family has raised over $2 million dollars. These funds have supported PSP research and, in particular, the potential breakthrough program which will conduct a full genome-wide analysis of PSP. These results are being shared with scientists around the world and will open doors to the cause and prevention of PSP.