NEWS24 November 2010

Photon boss promises fresh start with focus on organic growth

Asia Pacific

AUSTRALIA— Jeremy Philips, the chief executive officer at troubled marketing services house Photon Group, has told shareholders at the firm’s AGM that there is an opportunity to “revitalise” the company – if it learns from past mistakes.

The firm, which owns research agencies The Leading Edge and Jigsaw, ran into financial trouble earlier this year when it could not meet A$176m worth of earnout payments owed to the owners of agencies it had acquired.

Philips (pictured) said that while he wanted Photon to expand, acquisitions were not on his agenda. “We will grow by prioritising the most attractive organic opportunities, rather than focusing on acquisitions. We will be vigilant to avoid the hubris in which acquisitions are celebrated as victories in themselves.”

The Photon boss added that the company is continuing on a strategy of merging agencies, such as the recent integration of Auspoll into The Leading Edge, and said that the group’s plan was to reduce its number of agencies – it owns 45 – by at least 25% by the end of the year, “mostly through mergers”.

“A major priority in the coming months is continuing to simplify our structure,” he said, “making the company easier to manage and more efficient.”

Looking ahead Philips said: “We cannot fundamentally transform the culture, strategy and operational performance of the company if we just keep doing things the same way that they have been done in the past.”