Fitch feels effects of CCG troubles

Paul Stead will bid for the Fitch Worldwide component of the beleaguered Cordiant Communications Group if the media conglomerate is split up, industry sources suggest this week. Meanwhile, the exodus of senior managers from Fitch group companies continues with the departure of Mark Southwood from Fitch London.

Stead – a senior member of the CCG operating committee until last week – refused to fuel speculation about the company’s future or his part in any bid for the Fitch brand.

Last week, CCG revealed it has received several ‘very preliminary approaches’ to buy the group, but would not confirm details. Both WPP Group and Publicis have been linked to the group, but analysts suggest they may be gathering market intelligence rather than launching concerted bids.

Meanwhile, Southwood, previously managing director of PSD Fitch, was a member of the original quintet of managing partners given responsibility for the three-into-one Fitch London last year.

Seen as a Stead ally, he is the second managing partner to leave after Jane Simmonds quit last month (DW 3 April).

According to a Fitch London statement, Southwood left ‘by mutual consent’, but neither party was available for comment as Design Week went to press.

Decisions about CCG’s longer term future were given a two-month framework last week, when creditors agreed to guarantee the group’s loans until 15 July while rescue strategies are evaluated.

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