Fitch re-shapes for acquisitions

Fitch has re-engineered its global board structure, in preparation for a planned spree of acquisitions and senior staff appointments.

The Lighthouse Global Network-owned design group is aiming to become a “brand consultancy with excellent design skills”, rather than a design consultancy with branding skills, says chairman Jean-François Bentz. He says the changes will enable Fitch to provide clients with the global brand advisory service they increasingly require.

As part of the restructure, the Fitch board now has LGN chief operating officer Julian Hanson-Smith at its head and Bentz as chairman. Former joint managing director John Harrison becomes chief operating officer for Europe, while Bill Faust becomes his US counterpart.

Each of the two divisions has three executive vice-presidents, each heading a department. In Europe these are now Giles Marking (development), John Mathers (brand and corporate identity) and Tim Greenhalgh (brand development). In the US will be Mark Artus (brand development), Janet Muhlemann (brand management) and Spencer Murrell (product development). The changes were announced internally on Monday, taking immediate effect.

Bentz and Harrison confirm that Fitch is now to target the Far Eastern market, probably through strategic acquisitions of design groups. It will also seek to acquire companies which would help it to “fill-in” areas where it is geographically under-represented.

The group is also currently in talks with senior design personnel with a view to making appointments. Harrison confirms that the people in question are of similar seniority to Mathers, the former Enterprise IG client services director who is about to join Fitch (DW 25 February).

There is, as yet, no firm decision on whether LGN will group all of its design groups under the Fitch banner, say both Bentz and Harrison (DW 17 March).

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