Worthington heads design as Media Square restructures

David Worthington will be confirmed as chairman of Media Square’s newly created Design Division today, as part of a restructure of the marketing services conglomerate.

The announcement, by Aim-listed Media Square executive chairman Roger Parry, will coincide with the publication of the group’s interim results. At the same event, the group will unveil a new identity, created by Lloyd Northover.

The restructure divides the business into three divisions: design; advertising and PR; and marketing. Worthington will oversee Media Square’s design brands, Lloyd Northover, Holmes & Marchant, Symmetry and Fourninety in the UK and Su Yeang in Singapore. He will also oversee CRC, which will work together with point-of-sale specialist Arken as Coutts Group.

Worthington’s role will be client-facing and he will act as ‘a friendly critic’ of work coming through the consultancies under his care, says Parry. This will be mirrored by Philip Gregory as chairman of advertising and PR and Mike Spicer, who will oversee the marketing division.

Worthington says, ‘My job is to make the best of what they’ve got.’ He sees this as an exciting opportunity with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Parry, who joined Media Square in July, says the restructure is to bring ‘simplicity and clarity to clients and staff’ in the ‘disparate cloud’ of 32 businesses that made up the group when he took the helm. The aim, he says, is ‘to create businesses with similar sets of economics’, headed by chairmen with craft skills appropriate to the companies they oversee.

Parry is ‘very committed to design’, he says, seeing it as the starting point of a relationship with a client, particularly when a new product is being launched.

‘Design is not as good a business [as advertising, PR and marketing] because it is more project-based,’ he says. ‘But my instinct is that it is enjoying a renaissance.’

Parry is not planning acquisitions or disposals in any of the sectors, preferring organic growth. He hotly denies reports that Holmes & Marchant is up for sale, saying its potential is ‘massive’, but adds that Lloyd Northover is actively looking to set up new offices in Asia in due course.

He says the object is ‘to make the businesses more valuable’ and that the division chairmen might recruit at senior level to achieve this.

Worthington was ousted as managing director of Conran Design Group in September 2006 in the run up to the merger of CDG and Havas stablemate CGI Brandsense. He completed his ‘gardening leave’ in October, but has continued his role as deputy chairman of the Design Skills Advisory panel.

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