A co-founder of Cactus Imaging, Keith Ferrel, said the billboard printing business he started in Australia in 1993 with Warwick Spicer would not have enjoyed the success it has without the early input of oOh!media founder Brendon Cook.
Cook announced last week that he will step down as managing director, CEO and a member of the oOh!media board in 2020, but will stay on until a global executive search unearths a suitable replacement.
He will also continue as a consultant to the business to ensure a streamlined transition in leadership.
Cook founded oOh!media (ASX: OML) as Outdoor Network Australia in 1989 with the company going on to become one of the leading players in the outdoor advertising market in Australia.
In 2018 oOh!media bought Adshel for $570 million with French giant JC Decaux acquiring APN Outdoor for $1.2 billion marking the largest shakeups of the Australian outdoor media industry. In 2016 oOh!media bought Cactus Imaging from private-equity backed Opus Group, after its earlier sale in 2008.
Ferrel said when he and Warwick Spicer first considered crossing the Tasman to set up an operation in Australia in early 1993, Cook was the first person they took advice from about the plan.
“He was the first person we spoke to when we looked to establishing ourselves in Sydney. Warwick and I both flew over and spent an afternoon and an evening with Brendon and gained valuable advice on the direction we should take and he has been a great supporter of Cactus ever since,” Ferrel told Sprinter.
“He was instrumental in providing a lot of information when we set up in Australia and he has been a client ever since.
“There is no doubt that Cactus Imaging is indebted to his input in the early days and following on from that as he now owns the company.
“He has been a friend. He will be missed in the industry, but he is still going to be around and providing very valuable advice for all who wants to listen.”
Ferrel said his company and oOh!media have shared a similar journey.
“In a way, both of the companies have grown together. He had his own company at the time which was a representative company more than anything. He represented all the smaller billboard operators and as a combined buy against the bigger ones at the time, outdoor network and network outdoor at the time.
“He was instrumental in Cactus getting established in Australia and he has supported us ever since.”
As for any changes the leadership change is likely to bring to Cactus Imaging, Ferrel said it was too early to tell as it could take months to find a replacement.
“For us, it is business as usual – onwards and upwards, and there is certainly a lot happening,” Ferrel said.
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