Interactive Advertising Bureau
11 June 2020

IAB Europe's Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) Announces New Governance Board & Upcoming Elections


Brussels, Belgium, 11 June 2020. IAB Europe is pleased to announce the creation of a new TCF Governance Board, and to issue a call for nominations of candidates to join the Board. 

IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) was launched on 25 April 2018 and is the only open-source, cross-industry legal compliance standard built in response to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The TCF’s simple objective is to help all parties in the digital advertising chain ensure that they comply with the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive when processing personal data or accessing and/or storing information such as cookies, advertising identifiers, device identifiers and other tracking technologies on a user’s device.

Up until now, all aspects of governance have been nested in the TCF Steering Group (SG), in which advertisers, agencies, ad tech companies and publishers are all represented, whether directly, or indirectly via European National IABs. From the inception of the standard, the aspiration has been to create a more formal, high-level multi-stakeholder governance to ensure that the various TCF instances – including the SG, its working groups, and IAB Europe Secretariat acting as the  Managing Organisation (MO) – are inclusive, transparent, and accountable to the industry.    

The new TCF Governance Board is the result of 18 months of reflection beginning with a multi-stakeholder meeting held at DMEXCO in September 2018 and involving IAB Europe’s Board of Directors, the TCF SG, and six EU-level sector-specific advertising ecosystem associations who joined the SG as from the DMEXCO meeting. The final proposal is a synthesis of detailed proposals submitted by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirschaft (BVDW), five of the EU-level associations who have been participating in the work of the SG, and the IAB Europe Secretariat. 

The new Board’s role will be to hold the various TCF instances accountable on behalf of the market, ensuring that they demonstrate integrity and transparency in their work and that their decisions align to, and advance, the strategic objectives of the Framework and the industry, and that the prescribed processes are faithfully adhered to. The TCF Steering Group remains the locus of decision-taking on the TCF Policies, alongside the oversight and holding to account of all working groups that it creates.

The Governance Board will comprise 15 corporate members designated by election from the TCF Steering Group. Elections will follow the “3-stakeholder bucket” paradigm currently used by the TCF SG to allocate voting power evenly across the ecosystem (viz. one third to buy-side, one third to intermediaries, and one third to sell-side).  Each “bucket” will elect five delegates from within its ranks. The term for Board seats is for 2 years, renewable once. 

Seats are also being set aside for a maximum of four National IABs and an equivalent number of EU-level sectoral advertising industry associations.  IAB Europe’s CEO and the General Manager of the IAB Tech Lab, which has partnered with IAB Europe on the TCF and hosts the process of iterating on its technical specifications, will be ex officio Board members.  

Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe’s CEO, said of the changes, “like all standards, the TCF needs to evolve and iterate over time.  The new Governance Board will provide a dedicated forum to step back collectively and pressure-test the Framework on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of websites, vendors, and CMPs who rely on it to help ensure they are applying EU law correctly.  The overwhelming majority of these companies are not members of any trade association and have no formal voice at the table; they will be counting on the future members of the Governance Board being able to take a disinterested, strategic view of what is best for the sustainability and continued growth of the whole industry.”  

TCF governance and the IAB Europe Board 

With the creation of the Governance Board, TCF governance and oversight responsibilities will move from the IAB Europe Board to the new body, though with the IAB Europe Board retaining the right to review and intervene in the unlikely event that a Governance Board decision poses a financial or reputational risk to the Association or compromises its mission in some other way.

Election Process to the TCF Governance Board

Interested parties from each of the 3 stakeholder buckets are invited to flag their interest with the MO (IAB Europe) by writing to  Candidates must be able to commit to allocating 8 days minimum/annum to their participation on the Board and be able to demonstrate both a deep understanding of the TCF and EU privacy and data protection law and regulatory enforcement, on the one hand, and their active support of the Framework (e.g. as a  vendor, CMP or publisher implementing the standard), on the other. The deadline for nominations will be COB Friday 19 June.  Following the election of the Chair of the Governance Board National IABs and EU level organisations will be invited to register their interest with the Chair for observer status.

Election Results

In instances where more than five nominations are received for a ‘stakeholder bucket’, the MO will ask the SG members in that bucket to vote on the nominations. The results of the elections will be announced on 29 June 2020. The Governance Board’s first meeting will be scheduled w/c July 6, where the Chair and VC Chair will be elected. 

Independent dispute resolution mechanism to be implemented as from the summer 

As part of the same review of TCF governance, it has been decided to create a new dispute resolution mechanism to enhance the independence of compliance enforcement.  The mechanism will be an external panel of experts to whom CMPs and vendors who are the object of an enforcement action by the MO and who contest the MO’s finding that they are in breach of the TCF Policies, can appeal.  Decisions of the panel will be binding and final. The Governance Board will designate the composition of the panel as one of its first tasks.  




The six associations that joined the TCF Steering Group as from October 2018 are the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), the European Publishers Council (EPC), the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), the European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA), the European Federation of Direct Marketing Associations (FEDMA), and egta, the European association of broadcaster sales houses. 

The five associations who submitted a proposed governance structure are the European Publishers Council (EPC), the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), the European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA), the European Federation of Direct Marketing Associations (FEDMA), and egta, the European association of broadcaster sales houses.

For more information, please contact:

Helen Mussard, IAB Europe ( / +44 7399 919 594)

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