Product design and innovation consultancy PDD Group has lost its managing director Helen Gray, who left the group last month to set up a financial services company and to start a family.
PDD has not yet lined up her successor, who is likely to be from a business or financial background, according to PDD operations director Tim Court.
‘We’re now looking for someone who, over the next five years plus, can capitalise on Helen’s legacy,’ says Court, adding that the group will continue to develop its full service offering, which reaches from ‘the blank sheet of paper to final product validation’. Chairman and founder Paul Pankhurst will run the firm until a candidate is found for the managing director role.
‘The market is now much more comprehensive in terms of what clients want. They are looking for services across the board from visual branding to the final product validation, and even ongoing support, in the case of some medical clients. I think that all consultancies have to accept the very diverse requirements that clients put on them now. The responsibility consultancies carry now is much greater than 20 years ago,’ adds Court.
Gray is an accountant by training and joined PDD as finance director in 1999, becoming managing director in 2002. Court says this is unusual in the design sector, where many consultancies are run by the founding designers – a ‘personality-led’ model, which, he says, is not used at PDD.
Over the past seven years, the west London group has doubled in size and revenues, and has developed the business from a product design consultancy to an innovation-based business, which also offers trend analysis and behavioural research facilities.