New mega OOH entity will be 'formidable', says JCDecaux CEO

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 22 October 2018
Steve O'Connor

JCDecaux Australia CEO Steve O’Connor has revealed he has no intention of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” when it comes to questions of staff redundancies at the recently acquired APN Outdoor business.

O’Connor, who will now lead the merged entity following the exit of APN Outdoor CEO James Warburton, tells AdNews the businesses are both in “extremely good shape” which will make the overall integration of the two a lot smoother when compared to traditional acquisitions of underperforming companies.

Not ruling anything out when it came to staffing and executive changes, O’Connor says for the short-term it will remain business as usual until it is time to “turn their heads to the issue”.

“We're going to be combining the best of the best from both organisations into something that's really, really formidable,” O'Connor says.

“We're both hiring, not firing, so that makes the whole integration process a lot easier when we're both expanding.”

He added that the JCDecaux executive team was looking forward to being able to bring the best of both the companies together, with greater internal efficiencies planned across each business.

O’Connor says this will be the “tipping point” for the JCDecaux business locally, putting it on the same scale as other businesses within the global brand.

However, he makes a point to highlight that with scale comes further global scrutiny and the next stage of the integration strategy will be aligning global expectations with the current internal operations within the APN business.

“We’ve always been a pretty potent business in the Australian out of home market, but we're relatively small and now, with the combined scale of APN, we'll be able to behave like the market leader we truly are," O'Connor says.

“Of course we will obviously be scrutinised more given the fact we are bigger. We're a more important company within the overall scheme of the group now. We're a business that, whilst big, is well-resourced and entrepreneurial spirit is really encouraged. 

“They've [JCDecaux] always been very true to allowing the local CEO to have a very substantial input into how the business is run at a local level, for the reasons that they need to be agile and entrepreneurial. So, while I expect them to be more involved, they will still respect the nuances of the Australian market and let us run what we need to run."

Now the deal is done, JCDecaux and Ooh!Media become the two largest players in the OOH market, however, O’Connor does not expect it to be a battle between the two, but rather an opportunity for both businesses to drive overall growth in the sector.

“As businesses, we’re reasonably like-minded in the fact that we expect to accelerate the growth of OOH in what is a very competitive broader media sector,” he says.

“This will happen through the scale and the diversity of the solutions brought about by the consolidation that's occurring and the opportunity to invest in new formats, which will be primarily digital and the platforms that power them for easier and more effective planning.”

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