Speed plans acquisitions following Steve Earl and Steve Waddington's exit

Speed Communications is launching an acquisition drive as the agency seeks to consolidate its market position following the exit of two founding MDs.

Separate ways: Speed founders Earl (left) and Waddington
Separate ways: Speed founders Earl (left) and Waddington

The surprise departure of Steve Earl and Steve Waddington, who are going on to work on separate projects, was announced last week.

Earl and Waddington will be replaced as MDs by existing directors Scott McLean and Kate Bosomworth.

McLean revealed that the agency, which aims to become a top-20 multi-sector PR agency by 2015, plans to launch itself into the travel and food sectors.

McLean, who currently leads the corporate and tech practice, said that the firm had growth plans in these areas because of expertise developed with existing clients Celtic Manor and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

He added that he would be responsible for Speed’s acquisition programme, planned for the coming 18 months. This follows the firm’s purchase of consumer and sports shop KTB PR at the beginning of July.

Internal growth, following the launch last month of Speed Gaming, a consumer tech arm, also forms part of the strategy.

McLean added: ‘While we will miss [Earl and Waddington], they haven’t delivered anything specific to the business over the past few years that was going to leave a gaping hole in our company.’

Waddington and Earl, who founded Speed Communications from its forerunner Rainier and led it since 2009, are both to leave by the end of the month to pursue undisclosed opportunities.

Earl said he had another job lined up, but he could not confirm where. He said: ‘No job is necessarily forever, it was the right time to move away, the right time for all parties really.’

He added that the pair had worked together for 17 years, adding there had been no falling out but it was ‘more like going our separate ways into the sunset’.

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