Illumination founder Palmer quits

Illumination co-founder Phil Palmer has left the brand development group just eight months after setting it up in conjunction with Design Bridge.

The consultancy was established with Design Bridge as part of that group’s drive to offer a deeper research capability (DW 27 February).

Both Palmer and Design Bridge managing director David Rivett say the split was entirely amicable. “I wanted to go back to working on my own, that’s all,” says Palmer.

However, sources suggest the reasons for Palmer’s departure are more complex, and hint at differences over the running of the group. Rivett describes the suggestion as “complete claptrap”.

Palmer has left the two-strong group he set up with Ruth Tobbell to work as a freelance market researcher at Palmer Research & Planning, the company he set up on his own around four years ago.

He will continue to work on projects with Design Bridge. Under the initial arrangement Design Bridge is believed to have a 20 per cent stake in Illumination, with the rest split between Palmer and co-founder Ruth Tobbell.

Rivett says Palmer’s share of Illumination has been subsumed between Design Bridge and Tobbell. He will not reveal the new share structure of the group.

Rivett says Illumination will replace Palmer and has several people in mind. “The relationship [of Palmer’s replacement] might be different to Phil’s,” adds Rivett.

Tobbell was unavailable for comment.

Illumination and Design Bridge will continue to operate separately, liaising on joint projects.

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