Ashley Carter Whitehead principals Edward Ashley-Carter and Neil Whitehead are going their separate ways, creating two independent consultancies.
The nascent Stuff International Design will be the vehicle for managing director Neil Whitehead’s programme to develop a ‘community alliance’ of design consultancies. Ashley-Carter, meanwhile, will run Ashley Carter Consultants.
Stuff ID, owned by Whitehead, is the primary business in the Stuff Alliance network and will pitch and operate alongside new media consultancy Stuff Multichannel. Jon Mason and Rupert Killick, former directors at Web design consultancy Clock, are managing director and production director respectively at Multichannel. Whitehead and Killick each holds a 20 per cent stake in the company, with Mason owning the remaining majority.
Stuff Facilities, an infrastructure and services division, is half-owned by Ashley-Carter, who will collaborate with the business. ACC will operate from bases in Nottingham and the Facilities London office.
‘ACW has got us so far and we’ve sort of gone our separate ways,’ says Ashley-Carter. ‘But if there’s work I can bring into Stuff Alliance that benefits my clients, we will do that.’
ACC will predominantly focus on regional clients, while many of Whitehead’s clients are national and international, explains Ashley-Carter.
‘Culturally, we are from different backgrounds. Financially and spiritually it wasn’t going to work, unfortunately,’ adds Whitehead.
Stuff Alliance companies currently include Dubai branding group Creative Intelligence and business management group PRC in Greece. Whitehead intends to add to the network, with the central business ultimately taking a stake in each alliance company.
‘Major clients are now looking for critical mass and for key people. They are much smarter and don’t like the structure of the bigger companies. Also, fixed costs are a real problem in this industry, especially for the older model businesses. The form of Stuff Alliance reduces costs, but achieves critical mass,’ explains Whitehead.
Stuff Alliance is currently working on a branding and interior design project for four Thistle hotels, under a contract with owner Bridgehouse Capital.