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Trickett & Webb has announced that it has ceased trading after 32 years because it couldn’t resolve its succession issues. What advice would you have given them?

‘Succession planning that meets everyone’s needs takes time and goodwill. With the benefit of hindsight, it might have helped to carry out an aspiration review a few years ago to see what the principals wanted to achieve and the availability of resources to produce a plan of action to meet their objectives.’

Mandy Merron, Senior partner, Willott Kingston Smith

‘One of the most pleasing thoughts any person can have is the thought of being needed, but this can also lie at the heart of some succession management issues. So if you wish your company to survive, the foundation stones need to be in place very early on. You’ve got to have like-minded people working with you who share your beliefs, dreams and goals, but there’s not many of them about.’

Rod Petrie, Founding partner, Design Bridge

‘Start early – pre-launch, get good objective advice, be honest about ambition, fame and motivation and expect some tears before bedtime. It all depends on your vision and an ambition to create a lifestyle business. Perhaps it is right that studio-based creative groups accept their natural lifespan and melt away when their founders have had enough.’

Dilys Maltby, Partner, Circus

‘Great teams are built on the strengths of each member and too often founders run their business to suit their own agenda. It is difficult for founders to let go and “trust” others to succeed them. You have to be brave enough to recruit people who can take your job.’

Rune Gustafson, Managing director, 20/20

‘Trickett & Webb’s choice to rest on their laurels and shy away from self-promotion has obviously proved to be the wrong approach. There may, of course, be many factors, but my guess is that this once famous design group slipped out of the limelight and lost creditability in the market because of honest naivety, yet another sad loss and what a great shame.’

Mike Horseman, Managing director, The Open Agency

‘If I was in the business 32 years ago, I’d have advised them not to call themselves Trickett & Webb.’

Aziz Cami, Managing partner, The Partners

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