Wolff Olins, one of design’s last independent major players, has completed a management buyout pricing the group at 6-8m.
The new management team comprises managing director Charles Wright, head of consultancy John Williamson, creative director Doug Hamilton and client services director Kate Manasian.
The three former shareholders will stay involved with co-founder Wally Olins, who retains a small stake in the business, staying on the board for the next two years. Jane Scruton remains for the moment as company secretary, and deputy chairman Brian Boylan becomes chairman.
“The MBO is a symbol of [the changes] that were already underway. It’s going to be business as usual rather than some dramatic sea change,” says Wright.
Wolff Olins plans to increase its turnover threefold in the next five years to about 30m, and to develop its operations in the Americas and Asia. This does not necessarily mean opening an office in North or South America, says Wright, but “exploiting our reputation with international clients”.
However, a presence in India is a possibility to strengthen the consultancy’s foothold there, Wright adds.
The MBO has backing from Lloyds Development Capital and NatWest Markets, two of Wolff Olins’ clients.