The Final Five

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Hands up it’s our fault! We started this industry trend for Top 10 Lists and Companies and People to watch.

Digital Signage Today just announced ‘5 digital signage execs to watch in 2010‘ which contains Pierre Richer (president, NEC Display Solutions), Keith Kelsen (CEO, The 5th Screen), Lou Giacalone Jr. (CoolSign), Brad Gleeson (president and CEO, Vertigo Digital Displays) and Jason Cremins (CEO, signagelive).

As Sir Winston Churchill once said “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber” and so we feel duty bound to comment.

Aside from Jason (whom we respect a great deal) and Lou (who scares us on multiple levels but is nevertheless a clever man who may well get it right this time round with CoolSign) what on earth are they smoking down in Kentucky?

Brad Gleeson’s a nice enough guy (in fact NOT true he is one of the nicest people you may ever meet) but some of the recent companies he has worked for have cratered (two early exceptions though, one being ActiveLight which he sold to Electrograph in 2006 was an Inc. 500 company the first year it was eligible and grew from $0 to $100M in revenue in 4 years. Brad also started or co-founded the Digital Signage Magazine, Directory, Tradeshow, Digi Awards and Association all whilst running Activelight-. However, if being in the ‘execs to watch’ list is for something that may happen at an enclosure manufacturer then inclusion in this list we feel can hardly be warranted.

Pierre is a wannabee ‘digital signage’ player and to include him in the list because of VUKUNET (not sure why else he could be included) is sheer madness – trust us, VUKUNET will crash and burn within months.

And Keith Kelsen? Keith Kelsen. Doesn’t everyone in the industry think that he is the biggest joke around? A man who believes in his own importance – who lobbied tirelessly to be named ‘digital signage man of the year’ and a man if you believe the rumours, was thrown out of his own company shows the absolute folly and lunacy of the list.

Jason and Lou may be pleased but they could (and should) be in much better company than that.

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