• Jean- Claude Decaux – Dreamer

    Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 6.34.15 AMThe Wall Street Journal recently ran an an article on the life of Jean-Claude Decaux.    The  article talks about how Decaux found a way around what at that time were a limited supply of good places to affix advertising. He created more of them:

    • Over the past 50 years, his company has put up hundreds of thousands of bus shelters, sidewalk restrooms and other objects that provide public convenience and spots for ads in cities around the world.
    • Decaux got his start as a teenager in his hometown of Beauvais, north of Paris, where his parents ran a shoe store. He plastered the town with posters promoting the store. Soon he was putting up posters for other businesses.
    • At age 18 he founded a billboard company. JCDecaux says it now has 1.1 million advertising panels—including digital displays and billboards—in more than 75 countries.

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    • In his early years, Mr. Decaux toted advertising posters on a Vespa motor scooter.
    • He branched into the billboard business in the mid-1950s. Within a decade, he felt hemmed in by restrictions on billboard advertising in France and came up with the idea of setting up bus shelters with spaces for ads.
    • JCDecaux sold ads on subway trains, benches, public toilets, electronic time-and-temperature panels, recycling bins and other objects.
    • In 1998, JCDecaux got into a bidding war with U.S.-based Clear Channel Communications Inc. for More Group PLC of Britain. Ultimately, Clear Channel acquired More.
    • The next year, however, JCDecaux outbid Clear Channel and others to buy the Havas outdoor-advertising unit of Vivendi SA.  That purchase nearly doubled JCDecaux’s annual sales and gave it a big position in airport advertising.
    • JCDecaux went public in 2001, listing its shares on the Paris stock exchange, but the family retains about two-thirds of the shares.

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    • Survivors of the Mr. Decaux include his three sons—Jean-François, Jean-Charles and Jean-Sébastien. Jean-François Decaux and Jean-Charles Decaux serve as co-chief executives of the company, while Jean-Sébastien Decaux runs the business in southern Europe, Africa and Israel.

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