Design Bridge founder Richard Williams is leaving the consultancy. Williams, who was managing director of what has been perhaps the most successful design consultancy in the past decade, has been on sabbatical for the past six months.
It appears negotiations about his return, due this month, and the future direction of the nine-year-old packaging and branding consultancy failed to yield agreement between Williams and the rest of the board.
Led by chairman Alistair Forbes and managing director David Rivett, the board issued a statement on Monday. It says: “The founders of Design Bridge have travelled as far as they can together. It is with mutual sadness but in recognition of the facts, and the business decisions that must flow from those facts, that Richard Williams and Design Bridge are separating.”
The consultancy refuses to elaborate on the statement, but speculation now centres on whether Williams was left with no real choice and was effectively ousted. His shares will now be sold, with first refusal going to the remaining board members.
Williams himself says: “It’s quite difficult to know what the root of it is. While I have been away we have just drifted apart. I wanted a new vision for Design Bridge but I don’t know that it was shared by everybody else.”
Williams says he is now “bursting at the seams with energy and the joy of things to do”. He vows to launch another consultancy: “In time I will put together what I would call tomorrow’s kind of design business. I loved setting up Design Bridge – it was a real thrill and a great buzz.
“I want to do that again and do some great work. Watch this space,” he adds.