Maiden drafts in ousted Mills & Allen chief Pugh

David Pugh, the former chief executive of Mills & Allen fired after its takeover by JC Decaux, has been appointed managing director of rival contractor Maiden Outdoor.

David Pugh, the former chief executive of Mills & Allen fired after its takeover by JC Decaux, has been appointed managing director of rival contractor Maiden Outdoor.

Pugh takes over day-to-day running of the poster company from Francis Goodwin, Maiden’s second biggest shareholder, who takes on a new role in charge of overseas acquisitions.

Ron Zeghibe, Maiden chief executive and its biggest stakeholder, denied that the strengthening of the management team was in response to the company’s recent disappointing financial performance. Last month, Maiden revealed a pre-tax loss of £2.7m for the first six months of the year, blaming cutbacks in poster advertising spend due to fears of recession.

Zeghibe says: “Outdoor has had a rough time. To say it was just a Maiden problem and not an industry one is rubbish.”

As the last independent poster company in the UK, Maiden has been the subject of widespread speculation that it is up for sale. But Zeghibe says: “To say that Maiden is simply on the block waiting for a sale is to misunderstand our business.”

One observer suggested that with the appointment of Pugh, Maiden was planning its long-term management succession if, as expected, it eventually becomes part of a larger media business which has no poster expertise.

The company has 20 per cent of the outdoor market, and no international interests to date.

Pugh, who was ousted from M&A in July, says: “I had unfinished business in outdoor. Maiden has the most balanced portfolio of all the outdoor companies and I am looking forward to exploiting its full potential.”

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