Interbrand makes Innocence move

Tony Allen has been ousted as Interbrand UK chief executive this week and replaced by Jez Frampton, chief executive of sister consultancy Innocence.

The switch is being made by US-based owner Omnicom to tackle the group’s recent underperformance. Interbrand’s last figures registered with Companies House reveal UK gross income down 21 per cent and a pre-tax loss of £3.9m to year-end 2001, according to accountant Willott Kingston Smith.

Allen, though widely respected as an identity consultant, has struggled to manage the business through the tough economic climate, since taking sole operational responsibility in late 2001. Frampton takes over immediately, with a brief to address how Interbrand goes forward and review its ‘shape and structure’. He remains chief executive of Innocence, prompting speculation that Interbrand will re-absorb the smaller group. Under the reorganisation, Simon Bailey becomes Innocence managing director.

‘Innocence will continue to trade as a separate business [within Omnicom] and will report to me in the UK, but only on a financial basis,’ Frampton asserts.

He explains Innocence will operate independently ‘for the foreseeable future’, but adds, ‘I don’t think anything can be ruled out.’

However, sources close to both groups believe Innocence’s days of independence could be numbered.

Of Allen’s departure, Frampton says, ‘Business performance is obviously a factor, but Tony would be the first to agree that it hasn’t been the role he thought it was, when he took it on.’

Allen says much of his time ‘in the hot seat’ was spent ‘scaling the company’ to market conditions. He adds he will stay at Interbrand until January 2004, while considering his next steps.

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