Annie Rickard, one of the people in media who does actually deserve the soubriquet ‘legend,’ is stepping down as CEO of Dentsu Aegis-owned Out of Home agency Posterscope.
She is to be replaced by UK CEO Stephen Whyte, who began his career at BBH and later became CEO of Leo Burnett and McCann in London.
She would be quite a catch for one of the auditing/consultancy firms now populating the media landscape.
Rickard began her career in OOH, or outdoor as we used to call it, more than 30 years ago at British Posters, formed by JWT and CDP to market their poster holdings. She then joined Harrison Salinson, one of the first specialist poster buying agencies, which was bought by Aegis-owned Carat in 1989. She became global CEO of Posterscope in 2001 as the company expanded across Europe and into the US.
The OOH agency market worldwide is now dominated by Posterscope and WPP’s Kinetic, formerly Portland which was run by another industry legend and British Posters alumnus Dennis Sullivan who sadly died in December. Portland merged with another independent Poster Publicity to form Kinetic under WPP.
There is now a third force in OOH in Talon, founded by former Kinetic boss Eric Newnham and backed by Mayfair Equity Partners, which has recently expanded into the US. Talon handles most of Omnicom’s OOH planning and buying.
New Posterscope boss Whyte says: “I know I speak for everyone when I say that we will miss Annie enormously, but I am delighted to be taking on the global leadership role at such an exciting time of change and growth in the out-of-home and location-based marketing sector.”
It is, indeed, a time of change in the OOH industry.It can be argued that OOH is the traditional medium to have benefited most from the digital revolution, with about half the poster sites in developed markets now digital format. This, though, has burdened the media owners with substantial costs and the role of the specialist OOH agencies has increased accordingly as a capital intensive industry chases advertisers.
Rickard, who never seemed to notice that she was a woman in what, for most of her career, was definitely a man’s world was one of the chief movers in this media revolution.