NEWS4 March 2010

Mattinson, Cooke depart Chime leaving Beale as acting research CEO

People UK

UK— All change for Chime’s research and engagement division – joint chairs Deborah Mattinson and Viki Cooke have departed the group to launch a new venture, leaving Crispin Beale to run the show as acting chief executive.

Details of Mattinson and Cooke’s new business have yet to be disclosed, with neither available for comment at the time of publication.

It is expected that the new venture will launch some time around June, after the UK general election – in which Mattinson is likely to play a role as a long-time personal pollster to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mattinson and Cooke leave the business some 18 years after setting up Opinion Leader Research, which was bought by marketing services group Chime in 1998 and forms the core of the firm’s research and engagement offer.

Over the years the division has expanded to include luxury goods researcher Ledbury, ethnography specialist Naked Eye and fieldwork firm Facts International, in which Chime holds a 75% stake.

Recent times have proved challenging for the division. At the half-year mark in 2009, revenue was down 38% to £4.6m while operating income fell 26% to £3m. Operating loss was £23,000 compared to profit of £460,000 in the same period last year.

Chime delivers its full-year results next week in which the group is expected to report a continuing poor performance for the division. The group may also deliver an update on its planned acquisition of research and data analysis agency Tree. Heads of terms have been agreed with Tree’s owner Cagney, but neither party has yet announced a definitive agreement.

The next few weeks should also see confirmation of a new CEO for the research and engagment division. Acting CEO Beale is thought to be a strong contender to get the gig full-time. He joined the group in September 2008 as CEO of Facts International, having previously been group insight director at Royal Mail.

@RESEARCH LIVE

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