DALLAS — March 21, 2019 — Building on a more than 90-year family legacy, FreemanTM – the world’s leading brand experience company – today announced that Carrie Freeman Parsons has been chosen to succeed her father Donald S. Freeman Jr. (Don) as the next Chair of the company. Carrie currently serves as the Vice Chair of Freeman and has been actively involved in the business since 1985. With Carrie moving into the new role, Don Freeman will transition into the role of Chairman Emeritus later this year.
Don became president of Freeman in 1972 and was named Chairman and CEO in 1977 when the company was a local and regional decorating company. Under his leadership, the company has flourished and is now the world’s leading provider of services for experiential marketing events. Recognized as one of the industry’s most decorated leaders, Mr. Freeman has received numerous awards and honors for his many contributions including serving on and chairing multiple industry boards. He is a member of the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders and the U.S. Travel Hall of Leaders, and he has received the IAEE Distinguished Service Award and, in 2001, was awarded the PCMA Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Don’s contributions to Freeman and to our industry are beyond measure. He has set the standard for integrity and customer focus, and he’s led the charge to help both Freeman and the event and brand experience industry to innovate and transform,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. “Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him well, and his humility, intellect, integrity and business savvy are all qualities I hope to emulate as I work with Carrie and the incredible Freeman team to propel the company into the future.”
Since its creation, Freeman has been family owned and family run. And that tradition continues with this latest appointment. Carrie grew up in the business and represents the third generation of Freeman leaders (her grandfather is founder Buck Freeman). Carrie joined Freeman in 1985 and has held numerous positions since, including general manager, president of Freeman Exhibit Company, chief marketing officer, and most recently vice chair. She has also served as a member of Freeman’s board of directors since 2004.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to help guide this company forward into the future,” said Don Freeman, current Chairman of the company. “Carrie has immersed herself in Freeman over the years, embodying our core values, contributing greatly to our overall business strategy, and showing a true passion for this company, our people and our industry. I’m proud and honored to have her continue our family legacy.”
In addition to Carrie succeeding Don as Chair, Freeman also announced that, after 22 years at Freeman, Joe Popolo will be stepping back from the day-to-day business and focusing on his board role. Joe will continue to support the business in specific areas and provide valuable insights for board-level decisions.
“Joe has put all of his focus and energy into this company for more than two decades and has led us to extraordinary growth over the years. During his tenure, he has helped triple the size of Freeman, led our global expansion and the rebranding of our businesses, and helped us grow significantly in the experiential marketing space,” Mr. Freeman continued. “We can’t thank Joe enough for his contributions to Freeman these past 22 years.”
Don’s transition to Chairman Emeritus will begin on April 1 and will continue for approximately three months to help create a seamless transition. Effective July 1, Carrie will officially be the new Chair of Freeman.