New faces for old
This is my first official month at the helm of OPI, but as I’m entering the OP industry it seems that quite a number of people are leaving it (or have recently left).
We’ve started to call this the OPI curse; as soon as an Editor mentions a prominent member of the industry, that professional leaves his/her post. Last month it was Steve Odland who bore the brunt of the curse, leaving the industry following much speculation and a brief but timely mention from guest Editor Bruce Ackland.
The previous month Spicers lost George Adams, weeks after he was featured as OPI‘s Big Interview.
For a new Editor, understanding the ins and outs of an industry, such as who’s head of what and which companies are creating the most headlines at the moment (for whatever reason), is particularly tricky in a fast-paced environment such as the office products industry.
Take this month’s special feature, for example. No sooner have I ingrained his name in my memory, Eric Bigeard is to leave Lyreco and in fact the OP industry as a whole. This issue OPI asks him all the questions everyone has always wanted to ask, revealing a few surprises that can teach even someone as new as me a thing or two.
Graeme Chapman, Chairman of Office Friendly, is another veteran leaving the industry at the end of 2010. Read about OPI’s involvement in the Climb of Life, one of the many charity events organised by Chapman over the years, and how the OPI team, including me, raised almost £20,000 for cancer research.
One set of OP top dogs that I’m not going to forget in a hurry is the judges for the 2011 European Office Products Awards. In November I spent a day in the UK city of Manchester with the judges as they debated exactly who deserved to win each award, which isn’t easy with so many excellent entries.
The Professional of the Year category was especially difficult to allocate, because there are many personalities in the industry who deserve an award for their sterling efforts during the past difficult times. However, decisions were reached and you can read about the awards shortlist in this issue.
Despite the challenges of learning names and faces, I’m already finding a lot to admire about the OP industry. For all its complicated structure and country-by-country variations, it’s a welcoming industry and I’m looking forward to getting to know the diverse range of organisations and people.
OPI has a long history of providing timely, in-depth news and insightful features, and I hope to continue carrying the torch. So if you want to share your views on the magazine, have a burning issue that you want to voice or just fancy saying hello, please send me an email or give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you!