Loewy Group is seeking a new chief executive following a boardroom shift that moves its founder Charlie Hoult into a less central role.
Hoult becomes vicepresident, development, within the independent group that has quadrupled in size through acquisitions in four years.
Iain Johnston, who has run Loewy’s brand communications offer since January, takes over as interim chief executive ‘to take the business into its next phase’.
In his new role, Hoult will be looking for fresh opportunities for the group. He remains Loewy’s biggest shareholder and says the move will free him to do what he’s best at, ‘doing deals and all that’. Hoult says that he will remain ‘the face’ of Loewy.
During the past two years, Hoult has added design ‘names’ Williams Murray Hamm and Seymour Powell to a line-up including The Team and Epoch Design. He will continue to add creative businesses to a mix that also includes brand strategy and PR.
‘It is the same plan and the same ambition,’ says Johnston.
‘A lot of successful businesses fail to recognise that you need different skills to run a bigger organisation [as they grow],’ he says. Hoult realised that in 2006, Johnston adds, when he [Johnston] was brought in with Mark Adams of PR consultancy Text 100, as non-executive directors. Adams is now chairman.
Both Hoult and Johnston insist that the Loewy pledge ‘to do things differently’ remains. ‘The vision is quite precious to us,’ says Johnston. His focus will be ‘putting more process and substance on what we’ve got’. ‘My job is to follow Charlie’s lead and continue to grow the business,’ he says.
The move has been welcomed by key Loewy players. Seymour Powell director Dick Powell describes it as ‘a classical step change in the growth of the business’.
‘Charlie had the passion to put it together. Now it needs a bigger system to tie it together,’ Powell says.
CHARLIE HOULT AND IAIN JOHNSTON
1993 Charlie Hoult sets up brand communications group Wilson Harvey. One of its clients is Iain Johnston’s company GB Information Management
2001 Johnston leaves GB Information Management to become an advisor to fast-growing businesses
2004 Hoult and Bryan Wilsher form Loewy Group through a merger between Raymond Loewy International, Wilson Harvey, Prescient, Loewy3 and RiteAngl
2006 Johnston and Mark Adams of Text 100 become nonexecutive directors of Loewy Group. Loewy acquires The Team and Williams Murray Hamm
2007 Loewy makes Mark Adams non-executive chairman and acquires Epoch Design and Seymour Powell
2008 Johnston becomes head of brand communications at Loewy Group. Chief executive Hoult becomes vice-president, development