TULSA, Okla. — Richard Ginsburg, former CEO of Protection 1 and Guardian Int’l, has been named CEO of Central Security Group (CSG) and a member of its board of directors, effective immediately.
Ginsburg replaces CSG Co-Founder Mark Wilson who is retiring after leading the company for 14 years. Ginsburg has served in various leadership roles in the security industry for more than 25 years.
With about 500 employees, more than 200,000 mostly residential customers and a sizeable dealer program, CSG purports to be the eighth largest security monitoring company in the U.S. (ranked by residential subscribers).
While CSG is considered a super-regional company with large concentrations of customers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Phoenix, Ginsburg tells SSI it is primed to become a national player.
“It is classified as a super-regional but I would say it has national scope and the goal is to expand this company and get it much bigger over the next few years,” he says. “This is a really unique platform which to grow upon. You just don’t find a lot of companies with a couple hundred thousand customers with a robust dealer program to grow. It is a very unique opportunity.”
CSG partnered with growth equity investor Summit Partners in 2010 to help expand its dealer network and grow its subscriber base. Among CSG’s many assets are Guardian Security, Oklahoma’s largest security provider for more than 30 years; a UL-listed monitoring and customer care center, located here; and a branch network throughout the Sun Belt. The company also has a presence in Florida and recently has been moving into California.
Ginsburg says he will focus on “three levers” to expand the company nationally, chief among them CSG’s dealer program.
“That is of critical importance to us. We are recruiting new dealers. We are the third largest dealer program in the country. Dealer growth is very important, it is what the business is based on,” he says.
Ginsburg, who has been involved in purchasing roughly 40 security companies during his career, says CSG will look to make strategic acquisitions to further expand its reach, as well as increase its branch operations.
“This company has done a series of acquisitions over the past couple years. We have an infrastructure to support acquisitions. The third lever is we do have some branches. Their primary purpose is to service customers, but there is some organic growth going on in the branches.”
Home automation products and services will play a significant role in CSG’s growth strategy, Ginsburg says. CSG dealers currently sell interactive products by Total Connect (Honeywell) and Alarm.com. The company plans to introduce additional interactive products in the near future.
“What is great about the dealer program is there is a lot of flexibility. We do not standardize on one [interactive services offering], it’s all about letting the dealers use what they are most comfortable with,” Ginsburg says. “It is definitely going to be a big push. As we transform the company, interactive services are going to be a pretty critical part. It is still only a 1-2% penetrated market, so we love that business.”
Although CSG plays predominantly in the residential market, it does conduct commercial sales in Oklahoma where it has medium-sized and large clients that make up about 10% of its total customer base. Here’s a spoiler alert to industry observers wondering if Ginsburg’s growth strategies include making a big push in the commercial space: It’s not going to happen any time soon.
“CSG has a pretty big commercial base in Oklahoma. As you look at the company as a whole it is small but there is definitely capability there. It is something we will look into, but right now it is not the primary focus of the business,” he says.
A member of SSI’s Hall of Fame, Ginsburg started Guardian Int’l in 1993 and served as the company’s CEO until 2001. In his role at Guardian, he built the company into the 16th largest security monitoring business in the nation. In 2001, Ginsburg joined Protection 1 as president and CEO, where he led the team for nine years until the company was sold to private equity firm GTCR in 2010. During Ginsburg’s tenure, Protection 1 grew to become the second-largest security company in the industry.
Ginsburg most recently served as a managing director at G3 Capital Partners, an early-stage investment company. He also briefly served as CEO of Devcon Security in 2012.