New MD to take Interact Media Defined to new heights

Richard Bicker Caarten, the new managing director of Interact Media Defined.
Richard Bicker Caarten, the new managing director of Interact Media Defined.

Richard Bicker Caarten has joined the well-established publishing and events company Interact Media Defined (IMD) as managing director (MD), effective as of 1 October 2017. This forms part of the company’s strategy to take the business to the next level.

About IMD
IMD was established in March 1995 as Pipe Trade Publishing and has been growing its presence and reach quite aggressively since then, positioning it as one of South Africa’s leading multimedia trade and technical magazine publishers.

Today, the company boasts 14 publication titles in its stable, complete with complementary multimedia platforms, to ensure its core goals of disseminating information and educating its industries are reached. The company also specialises in events organising and exhibitions, and owns the popular Mining and Technical Exhibitions (MTE) brand, which has a fast-growing African footprint as travelling exhibitions company.

Growing the business
Despite its ongoing successes, the company decided to expand its leadership team to further its growth prospects and strategic agility. As such, the directors started looking for a suitable candidate to not only take up the vital role of MD, but also to buy into the business and invest as a shareholder.

“It was important for us that the new managing director would have ‘skin in the game’ and acquire a stake in the business,” says Sean Macnamara, who has been the managing director of IMD for the past nine years. Macnamara has since taken up the role of operations director with the added responsibility for finance and projects, to focus his energy where his strengths lie. “We felt that the new MD position needed to be more strategic, as we believe that our product offering and the industries we serve could benefit from this,” says Macnamara.

After an in-depth process interviewing various potential candidates, Richard Bicker Caarten was offered the position.

According to Macnamara, “Richard has extensive experience in managing an organisation and fulfilled the key requirements of IMD for having the ability to build relationships, grow our offering, and strategically position IMD to remain a leading publisher and exhibitions organiser.”

About the new MD
Richard Bicker Caarten hails from a financial background initially, having qualified as a chartered accountant with EY back in the day. He started off his career at a telecommunications and electronics group listed on the JSE, doing mergers and acquisition work for them. He seized opportunities as they arose within the company, moving from the financial side of things to a general management role relatively quickly.

Bicker Caarten boasts an extensive and colourful career in the telecommunications industry, venturing into management consulting six years ago. Here he was involved in several different industries, helping large corporate players to improve the efficiencies of their operations.

Yet, he had been searching for an opportunity to buy into a business, investing in diverse options over the past year or so. As such, when he heard about IMD’s search for a new managing director through his network, he got in touch with the company’s directors to get the ball rolling. It was a good fit for both parties, and the rest is history.

“I’m looking forward to being involved in a more entrepreneurial business where I can be more hands-on and see the business grow,” explains Bicker Caarten. “The IMD opportunity has been a great one from the point of view that it’s a well-run existing business with a lot of room to grow and develop. I look forward to contributing ideas and being part of this process.”

A good fit
Although Bicker Caarten does not have a publishing background, he possesses good strategic ability, which carried more weight with the directors in terms of identifying opportunities and executing against these in an effective manner.

“We weren’t looking for media skills necessarily, but rather broad-based business skills,” Macnamara explains. “We have always placed very high regard on relationships and attribute a great deal of our company’s success to this. That is why it was important that the person coming in would share our values and could help grow the company, particularly from a relationship point of view.”

“What I saw in IMD, was a well-run business that has a good culture, a great team, stability, and a proven track record, and that is ready to go on a growth journey. From that perspective, I felt that I could make an impact,” says Bicker Caarten.

The future
Together, the ‘new’ team of directors is developing the blueprint for the future with their eye on taking the business to the next level.

“I think with the combination of organic and acquisitive growth, we are going to see a real transformation in the IMD business over the next five to seven years,” says Bicker Caarten. “I look forward to getting to know the people, the industries, and the communities — whether it be our advertisers or our readers.”

“IMD is very excited and fortunate to have a new MD who meets all our key requirements,” says Macnamara. “This appointment will ultimately benefit our valued customers through an improved service offering and better value add, ensuring that we take a sustainable IMD into the future.”

You can contact Sean Macnamara with any queries on +27 (0) 11 579 4940 or at 

Mari Macnamara
Mari Macnamara


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