WH Smith shuffle opens doors

More design consultancies are to get the chance to work for WH Smith in the wake of a major restructuring at the retail group.

Three design jobs have gone at group level and the re-organisation is also seeing changes in Michael Wolff’s role as the group’s design advisor.

The redundancies affect a design manager and two designers. A support worker’s post has also gone, with the worker transferred elsewhere in the group.

A WH Smith spokesman says the individual businesses within the group will now buy their own design. He adds that Wolff is still involved, but on a project-by-

project basis as and when the individual businesses wish to use him. The three-tiered design management structure Wolff helped establish has been dismantled.

Wolff has been the external design advisor to WH Smith since 1992. He says: “WH Smith is allowing the design function to live within the brands such as WH Smith Retail, Waterstone’s, and WH Smith in the US.

“The design culture was so successfully driven at the centre, there are now good people running the divisions for whom design is an integral part of what they do.”

Wolff says the individual businesses’ managers are picking design groups “usually with me around but not always”. This will lead to more design consultancies winning WH Smith work, he adds.

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