Huntsworth offloads marketing agencies

Lord Chadlington, named chief executive of Huntsworth this week, has ruled out redundancies following a six-month strategic review.

Huntsworth announced on Monday that it was selling its 16 marketing services and specialist advertising businesses to Media Square for £63m. Chadlington, who has  switched from chairman to CEO, told PRWeek there would be no further restructuring, although he hinted at possible acquisitions.

'First we want to address the issue of getting the deal completed in November,' he said. 'When that is done we will have very little debt and the kind of PR business we want to create.

'We will build the business through organic growth but will also be able to drive the business forward through acquisitions, though that does not mean we will necessarily make any.'

Chadlington also ruled out the sale of other parts of Huntsworth to avoid overlap between business units such as the City shops Hudson Sandler and Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

In addition to the sale of firms, including Citigate Smarts, Karen Earl Sponsorship and The Gate Worldwide, Huntsworth announced a board restructure. Chadlington replaced Richard Nichols as CEO, and GCap Media's Tracey Reid joined the board with responsibility for HR strategy.

Senior independent director Jon Foulds has become non-executive chairman until a replacement for Chadlington is found.

Nichols, who was chief executive of Incepta from 2001 until its merger with Huntsworth, will be a consultant to the board until the end of this year.

'It shows that Chadlington wants to be more hands-on,' said Results Business Consulting MD Jim Surguy. 'But Huntsworth will need to bring in someone heavyweight with international experience to fill the chairman role.'

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