Kevin Morley has resigned as managing director of Kevin Morley Group.
His decision will heighten speculation in the industry that he is going to be less involved in the running of the company. It could also raise speculation about the continuity of the Ãº100m pan-European Rover Cars account which launched advertising and marketing agency Kevin Morley Marketing, wholly owned by Speakers Ltd, which in turn is owned by Kevin Morley Group. However, Kevin Morley Marketing’s contract with Rover cannot expire before 1997, and could in principle continue.
If Morley were to depart from the day-to-day activities it could herald the end of one of the most colourful and controversial periods in UK advertising. As Rover Cars managing director in 1991 Morley shocked the industry when he announced he was setting up his own agency and he signed an unprecedented five year contract with the car manufacturer to handle all its through-the-line business.
According to Companies House records, Kevin Morley remains one of two shareholders of Kevin Morley Group – the other shareholder is his wife Kathleen Elizabeth. She sits on its board of directors with Paul Jackson, Stuart Kendall and Gerald Kreinczes – all three were appointed on March 18 1994.
There has also been speculation in the past 12 months that KMM would merge. It is rumoured to have spoken with at least one London agency about a deal, but nothing appears to have come of it.
Morley has extended his own personal business interests as a part owner with businessman John Moreton in the Treasure Beach Hotel on the island of Barbados. He is also acting as an importer of Czech lager Lobkov.
On March 12 1995 Morley resigned seven UK company directorships and two chairmanships. He resigned as managing director of Cardboard Innovations, KMM Merit, KM Conferences, Kevin Morley Inter- national, Speakers Ltd, Kevin Morley Exhibitions as well as Kevin Morley Group.
He also resigned as chairman of KMM Olwen (Data Services) and KMM Olwen (Mailing) Ltd. He had resigned as managing director of the core ad agency, Kevin Morley Marketing, in August 1993. His only remaining UK directorship is as a non-executive with DFS Furniture, which he has held since October 1993.
Kudos Marketing, which was incorporated in 1992, changed its name in April 1994 to Kevin Morley Group. It wholly owns Speakers Ltd, which was formerly known as Kevin Morley Group. The board of Kevin Morley Group mirrors that of Speakers Ltd and Jackson, Kendall and Kreinczes all joined the Speakers board on the same day as they joined the board at the new Group.
Speakers Ltd has a 51 per cent stake in KMM Merit, Kevin Morley Exhibitions and a third company, Cardboard Innovations, where its stake cost Ãº10,000 in February 1994. It sold another subsidiary, the Jersey-based Kevin Morley Europe, to a sister company Kevin Morley Europe Holdings for Ãº9,500 in March 1994.
Kevin Morley Europe is believed to act as the co-ordinating body for the Rover Cars account across mainland Europe.
Rover remains KMM’s single biggest client, although it also works with Jeyes, Sally Ferries and the British Dyslexia Association.
According to Speakers Ltd accounts ending April 1994 its ultimate holding company is the Jersey-based Kevin Morley Holdings Ltd. Whose shareholders are listed as Orbis Secretaries and Orbis Nominees. Jersey company law does not require the names of directors or the secretary to be listed. Similarly there is no requirement to file copies of accounts or details with the Financial Services Department.
The accounts for Speakers Ltd (then known as Kevin Morley Group) to the end of April 1993 show pre-tax profits standing at Ãº525,674. On a turnover of Ãº53.69m, the group made a gross profit of Ãº4.4m. It made an operating profit of Ãº271,642 after paying administrative expenses of more than Ãº4m. Morley’s personal emolument was Ãº481,593.
The Speakers Ltd accounts to the end of April 1994 show a personal emolument for Morley of Ãº147,240.
Morley: Resignation from Group heightens speculation over his role
SBHD: CHRONOLOGY : THE KEVIN MORLEY STORY
Autumn 1991: Rover Cars managing director Kevin Morley opens negotiations with Rover to handle its marketing. He signs a five-year deal which runs to at least 1997.
October 1991: Kevin Morley Group is incorporated with Kevin Morley holding one ordinary Ãº1 share and his wife Kathleen Elizabeth Morley also holding one ordinary Ãº1 share as a nominee for her husband.
February 1992: Kudos Marketing is incorporated.
March 1992: Kevin Morley Marketing, 100 per cent owned by Kevin Morley Group, starts work with Rover.
August 1993: Morley resigns as managing director of KMM.
January 1994: Morley resigns as a non-executive director of Rover Group holdings.
February 1994: BMW buys Rover Cars for Ãº800m.
April 1994: Kevin Morley Group changes its name to Speakers Ltd and Kudos Marketing changes its name to Kevin Morley Group. Speakers Ltd disposes of Kevin Morley Europe to another group company, Kevin Morley Europe Holdings.
March 1995: Kevin Morley resigns as managing director of the Kevin Morley Group, six other directorships and two chairmanships.