Steve O'Connor tipped to lead new JCDecaux proposition

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 30 August 2018

JCDecaux Australia CEO Steve O'Connor is tipped to lead the new out of home (OOH) entity, following the French giant's acquisition of APN Outdoor.

While some may have expected a two horse race between O'Connor and APN Outdoor CEO James Warburton, AdNews understands that O'Connor will be in charge on the new bolstered OOH mega business.

French multinational JCDecaux entered a bid to acquire APN Outdoor for $1.2 billion in June and consumer watchdog, the Australia Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (ACCC), approved the major acquisition deal last week.

While having a quieter profile than Warburton, O'Connor has been steadily leading JCDecaux for 13 years, so is known well to the top execs, such as JCDecaux chairman and co–chief executive Jean–Francois Decaux, who has overarching responsibility for the region.

As the chairman of the Outdoor Media Association, O'Connor has also been involved in recent changes to the industry's measurement and transparency practices.

Ambitious and outspoken Warburton, who is also ex-Ten CEO, is credited with modernising and revamping APN Outdoor's internal culture and has led his team of nearly 300 staff to multiple tender wins, most recently the contract for Sydney Airport.

See: APN's Warburton says industry 'really needs to grow up' or APN's 'aggressive' data move to catapult OOH onto more media plans.

Warburton joined APN in October last year from his role as CEO of V8 Supercars Australia and is said to have been making huge strides at the business.

His appointment followed the failed merger between APN and Ooh!Media, which led to the resignation of CEO Richard Herring after 22 years at the business.

Warburton has more than 17 years' experience in the media sector having also held the top role at Universal McCann in the early 2000s and was also director of Ten's out-of-home media business Eye Corp.

While nothing official has been announced regrading the leadership of the combined entity, which will have more than 500 staff in total, AdNews understands that new leadership could be in action later October/early November.

It remains to be seen where Warburton, a self-professed sales-driven CEO, could next appear.

AdNews has approached both JCDecaux and APN Outdoor for comment.

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