Navyblue axes London design team in overseas push

Anglo-Scottish branding group Navyblue looks set to disband its London design team as part of a reconfiguration of the consultancy. It is gearing its business to enter overseas markets, particularly Eastern Europe.


Navyblue confirms it is in consultation with its eightstrong London design team and is expecting redundancies.


Three of the team will be offered relocation to the Edinburgh office to boost the design strength there. All eight London positions will be replaced by people with different skills, such as planners and client services staff, according to Navyblue nonexecutive chairman Phil Jones, of Real Time Consultancy. Total staff numbers will remain at 69 people across all offices.


The move is part of a plan to build the consultancy side of the business in London, with design and other back-end teams offering support from Edinburgh in a building theconsultancy owns. The move follows the appointment of Ron Cregan as business strategy director a year ago. Cregan, formerly business development director at Identica, has been working with Navyblue founders Geoff Nicol and Doug Alexander and Jones on ambitious plans to expand the overseas business.


According to Nicol, who heads the London office, ‘The UK market is quite tense. The market is up and down, but it’s quite tiresome. I’m a great Brit, but we are looking at a strategy to spread the risk.’


Cregan sees a reconfigured London office as ‘an international shop window’, peopled by senior consultative and account management staff.


Nicol, who expects 50 per cent of Navyblue’s business to come from overseas next year, describes the new London team as ‘thinkers with boardroom resonance’.


‘There was a disconnect between Scotland and London,’ says Cregan. ‘We are joining them up again, creating the infrastructure to do that.


Meanwhile, the consultancy has opened an office in Budapest, Hungary, to service clients there. The office is headed by marketing strategist Bobbie Braun, Peter Lorenz, former chief executive of Deloittes in Hungary, and account manager Agnes Keltai.


It rebranded Hungarian Radio last year and is currently working for a local entrepreneur on a project to convert the Villa building in Budapest into an entertainments and arts destination. It beat Neville Brody’s Research Studios and Interbrand to the job.



BACKGROUND


• Navyblue was set up in 1994 in Edinburgh by Doug Alexander and Geoff Nicol
• In 1998 it set up an office in London
• Charbak Bhattacherjee and Ron Cregan joined the board in early 2007 as group creative director for digital and group business development director respectively
• Phil Jones of Real Time Consultancy was appointed nonexecutive chairman in September 2007
• It has just opened an office in Budapest, Hungary
• It ranked 28th in Design Week’s 2007 Top 100, with a feeincome of £3.9m on a turnover of £7.2m

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