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The departure of Mark Southwood means Fitch London has lost another senior manager within months of the merger of Cordiant Communications Group’s UK design interests. What can consultancies do to hang on to senior staff when they are going through radical change?

‘People who usually survive mergers are the ones hooked up to nice juicy clients or who are key to winning new business. But it’s no fun seeing your mates leaving instead of you. With the corporate meltdown that appears to be happening at CCG you might equally take the view that you’d be the one that’s better off out of there.’

Franco Bonadio, Independent design consultant

‘The loss of key people here may have more to do with the uncertainty overhanging CCG itself. Unfortunately, the best people always have other options and will tend to jump ship first – at times like this looking after number one becomes important. Sadly, the loss of these people will have diminished the value of the Fitch brand.’

Ian Cochrane, Chairman, Ticegroup

‘The key thing is communication. The people who decide to alter the structure of a business have had far more chance to deal with and accept the whole idea. In order to increase the chances of acceptance [among those not involved in the decision-making process], early communication and time to deal with inevitable questions in an unpressurised way is vital. There is a difficult balance between communication and confidentiality that needs to be struck.’

Amanda Merron, Partner, Willott Kingston Smith

‘Here’s the recipe for retaining staff of any seniority. Demonstrate strong, inspirational, visionary leadership. Communicate constantly to manage expectations. Create a sense of ownership, financial or otherwise. Offer interesting, challenging work. Provide a great working environment. Provide good remuneration packages. Apply in that order. For senior staff, increase the quantities. In times of radical change, increase again.’

Shan Preddy, Management, marketing and training consultant, The Preddy Consultancy

‘Before large organisations act they should recognise the “true” value of their senior staff. Those involved want to feel valued, secure and to be honestly engaged in the process of change. Senior staff can also play their part and embrace the future. After all, in Heraclitus’ words: “There is nothing permanent except change”.’

Paul Porral, Ex-head of global design, The Body Shop

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