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The Email Academy was established in May 2009 by David Hughes, Chris Combemale and Kath Pay.  Here’s some information about what we have been up to before now.

Chris Combemale

Chris Combemale, The Email Academy

Chris Combemale is the Founder of The Email Academy along with David Hughes. Chris is also the Executive Director of the Direct Marketing Association with overall responsibility for all DMA activity in the  UK.  He is a dual French/US citizen with 30 years digital marketing, advertising, and direct marketing experience in Europe, the USA and Asia/Pacific.  From 2000 to 2009, Chris developed Emailvision into Europe’s leading email service provider (ESP) in his dual roles of Chief Operating Officer and UK Managing Director. Emailvision completed a successful  IPO on the French stock market in 2006 and currently has offices in UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Scandinavia and the USA.

Chris launched his career in New York with Young & Rubicam and his 12 years at Y&R included founding the Wunderman direct-marketing office in Singapore in 1992 and managing the Wunderman office in Hong Kong. Chris moved to London in 1994 as European Direct Marketing Director for Franklin Mint and created his own on-line catalogue company (Living Heritage) in 1998.
In addition to his commercial activity, Chris has taken a lead in industry issues including legislation, best practice and education. He is a DMA Board member and Chairman of the DMA Email Marketing Council. He co-founded eMMa (Email Marketing Association) in 2001 and successfully led the merger of eMMa with the DMA in November 2002. Chris is also a frequent lecturer on IDM courses and other industry events.

Kath Pay

In 2001 Kath co-founded Ezemail, one of the pioneers of the email marketing industry in Australia and expanded it into the UK in 2004.  Prior to that she owned a small Web Design agency with extensive skills in HTML coding, designing, internet marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.

In the twelve years that she has worked in the digital marketing industry, Kath has participated in many of the industry activities that have seen email marketing become an essential channel for integrated digital marketing that delivers measurable return on investment.  Key issues for Kath are email deliverability, lifecycle marketing and email marketing best practices.

Kath has developed a reputation as an email marketing expert through her insights into the industry which are documented via the DMA Email Council’s blog (

Kath is a member of the UK DMA’s Email Marketing Council and is Chair of the Events and Communications Hub. As part of her remit she is the Editor of the council’s monthly newsletter Infoboxwhich has over 6,000 subscribers. She is also a regular speaker at both national and international industry events.


David Hughes

David Hughes, Co-Founder of The Email AcademyAn experienced digital marketing trainer and consultant and one of Europe’s leading email marketers, David has  12 years digital experience on both client and supplier side.  David has worked on digital and email marketing campaigns across the BtoB and BtoC space for companies including Visit Wales, Pentland Brands, PDSA, 3M, Telegraph, Kangol and the Institute of Directors.   He has extensive knowledge of data gathering and database marketing, both on and off-line, and experience in the strategic, operational, legal and technical issues relating to email.

As well as being a “hands on” digital marketer, David is an experienced trainer and is Tutor for the Institute of Direct Marketing’s Diploma in Digital Marketing, as well as running Certificate programmes in Finland and the Netherlands.  In 2010 David helped the IDM set up their Award in Email Marketing – Europe’s first professional email marketing qualification.  He also runs public and in-company training courses for Econsultancy and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.  Educated to degree level, he gained a Distinction in the IDM Diploma in Direct and Interactive Marketing.

Very sadly our colleague and Founder David Hughes passed away during the night of October 19th.

David was a very talented and well known digital marketer and trainer. He was a friend to his clients, colleagues and students and touched all who knew him with his witty sense of humour and kindness.

A memorial page has been set-up on Facebook  here and we encourage all of you to share your thoughts for David’s family, friends and colleagues.

Remembering that David always had a smile and a witty joke at hand it would be wonderful to make this site a celebration of  happy memories.

Chris Combemale and Kath Pay

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