The Design Council had changed hugely from the organisation Kester had joined nine years previously.
From Government-funded quango, the Design Council has shifted to become an independent charity which, through its merger with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has brought architecture under its wing as well.
And physically the organisation has moved too, leaving its Bow Street HQ to take up new offices in Islington’s Angel Building.
And to take it forward in this new iteration, the Design Council has selected as its new chief executive John Mathers – who has a wealth of experience leading top-level design consultancies.
Mathers has, over the last 30 years, held senior roles at Holmes & Marchant, Blue Marlin, Fitch and Enterprise IG. He has also worked client side, as head of brand at Safeway.
He is a man who understands the day-to-day issues and struggles of running a consultancy, and this appointment sends a very clear message to those who occasionally complain that the Design Council is disconnected from the industry it represents.
And Mathers has experience as a design industry administrator as well, serving as president of the Design Business Association for an unprecedented three years.
Where he might be lacking in experience is in the top-level negotiations with Government departments that the Design Council now specialises in.
He also presumably has a lot to learn about his new Design Council stablemate Cabe, which has also just made two senior appointments – with David Waterhouse joining as head of programmes and Alan Thompson as head of design review.
Mathers will be working for the Design Council for one-day-a-week initially, as chief operating officer Madeline Denmead, who has been running the organisation in the interim, guides him into the new role.
He will go full-time at the end of October, at which stage Design Week will be speaking to him about his experiences so far and his vision for the future of the Design Council.