Seymour Powell has restructured its management as part of its bid to address its succession, one of the most burning issues facing independents.
It is the group’s second attempt to create the next generation of leaders to succeed its high-profile founders and directors, Richard Seymour and Dick Powell. It lost the two partners who were being groomed for the job, Adam White and Adrian Berry, in 1997.
Seymour Powell has now set in place the second stage of a management restructure following the promotion of Adrian Caroen, David Fisher and Nick Talbot to directors last year.
James Dawton, James Lilley and Richard Smith were promoted last week to associate directors. Dawton is a senior designer, Smith runs the group’s virtual modelling and CAD division and Lilley heads its workshops.
“The issue is absolutely one of succession,” says Powell. “We want to leave Seymour Powell in the hands of those who have helped build it.”
The latest move aims to free up Powell and Seymour and give them more time to “get involved in branding and strategy issues, which is what clients value most”, says Powell.
Powell admits the consultancy was to blame for the loss of White and Berry, who set up Factory Design (DW 7 February 1997). He says it “woke us up” and they are anxious not to make the same mistake again.
He says the group has now “mapped out its future” more clearly, introducing a more practical structure including shareholder incentives and a more “egalitarian” organisation.
“We would be foolish not to realise that [the formation of a breakaway] could not happen again,” says Powell. “The better the consultancy, the more likely it is to happen.”
Powell refuses to be drawn on when he and Seymour may pass over the reigns.