McColl quits troubled SMC Group as profitability falters

Stewart McColl, executive deputy chairman at architecture and interior design consultancy SMC Group, has resigned with immediate effect, following a turbulent year for the group’s profitability.

Gordon Watson, the group’s business development director, has also stepped down from the board, but will continue working in a business development role in the company.

The departures follow a review update of SMC, which acquired architect Will Alsop’s practice in March 2006, renaming it SMC Alsop. The review provided a series of recommendations to improve the profitability of the consultancy and the board agreed to implement the recommendations immediately.

According to SMC, some businesses within the group have overheads which are out of line with revised revenue projects. This could involve integration with other parts of the group or closure of offices.

In April, SMC Group recorded a drop in pre-tax profits for 2006, falling from £2.5m to £1.6m year-on-year. The figures followed a profit warning and a management reshuffle earlier in the year.

SMC reorganised its senior management in February and McColl was shifted from the role of chief executive to the position of deputy chairman. Chairman Sir Rodney Walker stepped up to the role of executive chairman.

According to the group’s share update, Walker is determined that these changes and the implementation of the action recommended will enable the group to improve its financial performance to a level where month-by-month results are in line with the board’s recent expectations.

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