Out of Home Pioneer Dennis Sullivan Dies at 70


Dennis spent four decades in the out of home industry, beginning his career in sales at the UK’s Mills & Allen (now JC Decaux) before becoming sales director at British Posters in 1974. In 1977 he joined the UK’s first specialist outdoor planning and buying agency Portland Outdoor, a joint venture between full service ad agencies CDP and JWT, becoming managing director in 1978.

Portland was eventually majority owned by WPP with Sullivan’s POA Holdings a substantial minority shareholder. Portland then merged with Poster Publicity to become the world’s first international outdoor specialist with offices across the world and $250m in billings. The merged company is now WPP’s Kinetic, the world’s biggest out of home specialist agency.

In recent years Dennis continued in the industry working as an international OOH consultant as well as running his villa rental business from his home in Italy.

Dennis was a big personality in an era of many big personalities, determined to do things his own way and impatient of the compromises that came with ownership by a big holding company. He saw the potential for out of home to become a major medium long before most people and steered his companies deftly through a rapidly changing media landscape.

He was a regular fixture at FEPE Congresses, always popular, entertaining and thought provoking. He will be much missed by his many friends.

FEPE Ambassador John Ellery, who worked with Dennis for many years, says: “It’s hard to imagine an out of home industry and FEPE Congresses without Dennis. He was a visionary, a real maverick and a dear friend.”

Everyone at FEPE and in the out of home industry as a whole sends their condolences to his partner Gilly Love and family.

There will be a thanksgiving memorial service in the UK in due course, details will follow when confirmed.


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for posting this sad news. Dennis and I served together on the Board of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club when I was Vice Chairman there.

    He certainly was a ‘character’ and a man after my own heart.He was very supportive in our attempt to get the club out of the hands of the profiteers who eventually sold our ground with no alternative ground to go to and as a true football fan his support was very welcome at the time.

    I’m pleased he lived long enough to see the club back in the hands of a true supporter, Tony Bloom, and to have reached the Premier League.

    I would be most grateful to learn of any Memorial Service which might be held in UK in due course.

    Many thanks and kindest regards

    John Campbell

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