Paul Stead, who relinquished his post as Fitch Worldwide chief executive in the summer, is poised to re-enter the fray this week with a multidisciplinary venture involving a former Tangerine executive.
The group, to be called The Brewery, will be based in the old PSD building in Richmond and begins trading ‘in the new year’.
Stead says, ‘[The offer] is not just about design. It’s about design in business.’
An initial investment of £1m has been made by Stead and his fellow directors. ‘We did well when we sold [PSD] to Cordiant Communications Group,’ he says. ‘We’re using the money to start up again.’
It will initially be 11-strong, with Peter Phillips, who stepped down as a Tangerine partner to pursue his own interests (DW 6 March), confirmed as head of product. Stead is The Brewery’s chairman, he will focus on creative and strategic direction.
‘Last time I drove PSD,’ he explains. ‘This time I want to take more of a leadership role and let others drive the business.’
Stead says the US and South East Asia are key targets for The Brewery. The group intends to recruit staff; all of the present team are shareholders. ‘Beyond the critical mass needed [for a globally capable business], we are looking for exceptional talent to head a multidisciplinary offer,’ Stead says.
The Brewery will begin life with two clients, but Stead is not giving details.
Speculation about Stead’s next move has been rife since his departure from the top job at CCG-owned Fitch (DW 1 May).
Until Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP Group swooped to buy up the whole of CCG, it was rumoured that Stead was interested in acquiring the Fitch component.