Decaux ousts M&A chief after £600m takeover

David Pugh, chief executive of poster contractor Mills & Allen, has been fired by the company’s new French owners JC Decaux, together with two other board directors.

David Pugh, chief executive of poster contractor Mills & Allen, has been fired by the company’s new French owners JC Decaux, together with two other board directors.

Pugh left the company this week along with sales director Lawson Muncaster and finance director Helen Enright. They do not have other jobs to go to.

The management cull had been expected since April when family-run Decaux, previously a six-sheet contractor in the UK, triumphed with a &£600m bid for M&A and its sister outdoor companies from Vivendi.

Jean-Francois Decaux, chief executive of JC Decaux International, becomes chairman and chief executive officer of the newly merged JC Decaux Group, comprising M&A, JC Decaux and Sky Sites, the airport advertising business.

Decaux says: “M&A is not performing that well at the moment, which I understand is also true of Maiden [a rival 48-sheet contractor]. Only the More Group [a rival outdoor company] and JC Decaux are performing well. Therefore, I took the decision to replace Pugh and Muncaster.”

He adds: “Having started JC Decaux from scratch abroad, I decided I would be the most appropriate person to merge the two cultures.”

Decaux says he aims to increase outdoor’s share of the advertising cake and build M&A through acquisitions and by introducing new products.

He says he will spend more time in the UK, where JC Decaux earns 15 per cent of its worldwide revenues. “We have shaken the outdoor industry once and we’ll do it once more,” he adds.

The M&A and JC Decaux sales departments will be merged at M&A’s Paddington offices, headed by Spencer Berwin and Xavier Dupre, group sales directors of JC Decaux.

Industry experts are waiting to see how Decaux, renowned for its success in street furniture, handles the 48-sheet market.

Annie Rickard, chief executive of specialist Posterscope, says: “The lack of consultation by Decaux with its customers at senior level is not a good start. In losing Pugh it has lost a chief executive who worked hard at customer relationships – qualities Decaux needs now more than ever before.”

Pugh, former marketing director at The Telegraph, joined M&A three and a half years ago.

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