Seymourpowell has significantly expanded its management team with the appointment of two new Directors and the creation of four new, internal-appointment Associateships.
"These are people who consistently drive our business and contribute to its health and growth". commented Dick Powell. "They provide intellectual and creative leadership not just for the company, but more importantly for our clients - as we continue to grow and expand our offer."
SeymourpowellForesight, the agency's leading planning, research and trend forecasting unit, is now under the direction of Ed Hebblethwaite. Ed is a highly experienced planner with over fifteen years of experience in the design industry, including stints as a Planning Director at Interbrand, Fitch, Identica and VCCP. Five years ago he set up his own agency, "think...", which he sold into the Loewy Group after two years, becoming an integral part of Loewy operations subsequently as a board director and overall Group Planning Director. Ed is the first appointment from within the Loewy Group to an executive directorship of the Seymourpowell board.
"Everyone in SeymourpowellForesight is a designer by training", commented Ed Hebblethwaite. "Everyone here begins by looking through design eyes at the strengths and potential of a brand. Very few agencies can offer trends, research and strategy within the context of award-winning design. Far too often research, trends and strategy are divorced from product and brand design and it is this manifestation of the brand that ultimately people buy. I hope to develop the integrated Seymourpowell offer further to make better insights, briefs, products and brands."
Neil Hirst is a new additional creative director on the Seymourpowell board, joining existing design directors Richard Seymour, Dick Powell, David Fisher, Nick Talbot and Adrian Caroen, alongside Ed Hebblethwaite in SPF and Finance Director Russell Lloyd in the 8-strong senior management team. As Director of the agency's burgeoning packaging team, Neil comments: "My priority is to create a team capable of delivering the best packaging design in the world, by nurturing the skills of our designers and by growing people through the business. The primary objective of the team to create desire and delight in end consumers - especially against the increasing background challenge of ecological responsibility and depleting resources. Internally, I am particularly interested in building stronger links between the processes of the SPF team - especially in analysis and ethnography - and ensuring the full benefits of this reach the physical designs we output."
Neil's background includes thirteen years at Design Bridge (of which ten were spent as the Creative Director of 3D Branding and Packaging), working on a wide range of packaging and graphics projects for brands from Gordon's Gin and Carling Premier lager to Nescafe, Domestos and Harpic.
The first Associate appointment is closely linked to the expansion of Seymourpowell's packaging expertise, with the new title going to Michael Webster, who will be working closely with Neil Hirst to deliver the new ambitions for the department. Michael worked for Conran & Partners for five years after graduating in Industrial Design from Coventry University, before joining Seymourpowell in 2000. He worked initially within the product studio on projects such as the award-winning Stannah and Solus chair lifts for Stannah Stairlifts and the Red Dot-winning Huntleigh Healthcare bed, before becoming more involved in structural packaging from 2003, working with brands such as Axe, Lux, Bird's Eye and Dove (including work on the Dove Petal Actuator, winner of a 2007 Gold Award at the Starpack Awards). He now works uniquely within the structural packaging team at Seymourpowell.
Joining Ed Hebblethwaite in the direction of SeymourpowellForesight are long-time Seymourpowell employees and new Associates Simon Rucker and Paula Zuccotti. Simon Rucker is the Head of Strategy for SPF, having worked within the team since 2001, prior to which he was a Senior Footwear Designer at Paul Smith, Caterpillar and Dr Martens, having graduated with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Design from the University of Northumbria. Simon has been involved in many of SPF's largest strategic research projects to date, including the Seymourpowell-specific 'Brand DNA' process for brands including Guinness and Rexona, NPD and design strategies for Samsung, Ford and Coffee Nation.
Paula Zuccotti's new title is Associate Director, Research, within the SeymourpowellForesight team. Paula achieved a First Class honours degree in Industrial Design from the University of Buenos Aires, going on to become a guest lecturer both there and at the Brunel University, where she attained her Masters in Design Strategy and Innovation, with a distinction in Ethnography Design Management, before joining Seymourpowell in 2001. Ethnography has become a specialist tool of Paula's work, directing global-scale consumer research into projects for clients such as Nokia, Samsung, Rexona, Hellmann's, Lux and Dove, that then inform and inspire the design process, translating user-centric insights into opportunities for new product, services, brand and user interface development. Paula's work includes extensive travel and immersion into the real lives and environments of users of the product or products in question, based on the philosophy of "always putting people at the start and centre of every project."
Seymourpowell's fourth and final new Associate is in the classic product design field in which the agency made its name. Matthew Tidnam is the new Associate Director of Product Design, having worked for the company for over a decade, joining in the Autumn of 1997. Matthew studied at Ravensbourne for his design BA before spending five years in Hong Kong as a designer for Design Innovation. In his eleven years at Seymourpowell to date, he has worked on major domestic appliance projects, such as the company's award-winning digital shower systems for British client Aqualisa (recipient of a Queen's Award for Innovation this year) and steam generators for another long-term client Calor / Tefal. In the commercial sphere he has worked on POS systems and a range of dispensing machines for Coffee Nation, as well as on numerous projects for Unilever.