Grass Roots becomes greener in Marlow as Evans refocuses

With several senior staff exiting communications and events agency Grass Roots Group in recent months, Chairman David Evans has announced a major reorganisation at the Marlow office.

Announcing the shake up to Conference News, Evans said he was putting “sanity over vanity”.

“An over complex management pyramid” had been replaced by two new connected units, to be led by Jon Shilling and Warren Hillier respectively,” said Evans.
Director of Event Management Amanda Stranack, Client Services Director Paul Nicholls and Group Operations Manager Karen Brock were the latest names to leave the company this week. Their departure followed the news that former Global Development Director Debbie Donaldson had joined Big:group last week.
The remodeling of the Marlow operation followed a review by the group of its operations and an investment of half a million pounds in a refit, technology and telephony.
“Having spent a great deal of time with the team at Grass Roots Marlow, the conclusions seemed clear”, said Evans, “very good people, but far too complex as a structure; a case of vanity over sanity”.

“The outcome is an organisation with the same operating strength of numbers in the plan, but with the best people focused on the right things,” Evans underlined.
Head of one of the new Marlow units, Jon Shilling, has been with Grass Roots for five years, initially as a business development director for the digital marketing and loyalty arm of the business and more recently as Global Chief Technology Officer for the events division.

Hillier, who heads the other new unit created, has been with Grass Roots for six years, working most recently as the Commercial Director for the Events division. Both will report to David Evans, who said the business could now “look to the future with fresh optimism”.
“The refocus threw up lots of opportunities for many people,” Evans added. “Staff were invited to pitch for new roles, focused on client work. Some were successful, some were unsuccessful. The raft of fancy titles with many confusing roles has been replaced with a much more client centred plan.”
On 19 January, former Global Head of Events Nick Bender, who left Grass Roots last year, announced he was joining up with events management agency venture, Touch Associates. He launched the  agency with three other industry veterans, former UniversalProcon Chairman Patrick Collins, MD Mike Ford and US Operations Director Colette Murphy.

Look out for February 2012’s Conference News magazine and the Big Interview with David Evans.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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