Ocean Outdoor appoints successor to CEO Tim Bleakley

Ocean Outdoor appoints successor to CEO Tim Bleakley
Joseph (left) and Bleakley (Credit: Ocean Outdoor)

Ocean Outdoor has appointed Stephen Joseph, its chief operating officer and chief financial officer, to succeed Tim Bleakley as group CEO effective 1 January 2025.

Bleakley will move to chairman of the board of directors as part of “a long-planned” succession process.

He told The Media Leader: “It’s a long-term succession plan. This allows for a thorough handover. We’ve bedded in all the new Ocean businesses and launched in Germany. I’ve had 15 years at the helm and this evolution allows me to take on the next challenge for me and, importantly, Stephen and the team are ready and prepared.”

The Media Leader understands that the plan has been put together over the past 12 months, with a focus on delivering both evolution and continuity to minimise impact on the business.

Bleakley continued: ”Stephen and I have had a very supportive response from all stakeholders and that’s testament to how positive people feel about the strength and depth of the team, but also the natural transition Stephen and I have worked so hard to make possible.

“The next stage at Ocean is always our most ambitious; that’s how we keep pushing forward. This is all about what’s next. Stephen will lead the company, and he and the Ocean crew will deliver what’s next. I can’t wait to work with the board and support them.”

Transition period

Bleakley joined Ocean as CEO in 2010, replacing Andrew Oldham, and has overseen three phases of private equity investment, three UK acquisitions, four acquisitions in the Nordics and the Netherlands, and expanded Ocean into Northern Europe, most recently in Germany.

Ocean now has a presence in seven countries and 353 cities.

In 2022, Ocean was taken private through becoming a partner company of Atairos.

Joseph joined the company as CFO in 2009 and took on the additional role of COO in 2012. He will share plans for the wider team and his replacement in the transition period.

Bleakley said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Ocean team over the last 14 years and I am incredibly proud of the tremendous progress that Stephen, the team and I have achieved together, including becoming a world-recognised brand with best-in-class technology and premium locations in key markets.”

But “now is the right time for a transition of leadership” as the company enters “the next stage of our journey”.

Bleakley added that Joseph was “a proven leader with deep expertise in the outdoor advertising business” and “the right person” to lead the next phase of growth.

Joseph said: “I am honoured to assume the group CEO role of Ocean, a company that has been synonymous with innovation and challenging the status quo, creating award-winning moments and campaigns in iconic locations through the art of outdoor.”

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