Kevin Morley resurfaces as the major player at Birkdale Group

Kevin Morley has emerged as the largest shareholder and future non-executive chairman of the publicly quoted Birkdale Group.

He previously held a 2.9 per cent stake in the group, which includes Leedex PR, Marketing Solutions and regional agency Brunning Advertising.

Morley’s stake has been increased to 9.9 per cent – valued at 600,000 – and he has been appointed as a non-executive director. He will take over the chairmanship when David Linnell retires at the end of this year.

The group revealed pre-tax profits of 312,000 in the year to March 31, in contrast to a 2.78m loss the previous year.

Morley has been recruited to provide “strategic direction” and advise on organ ic and acquisitive growth.

Morley, who sold his agency and the 100m Rover Cars account to Lintas Worldwide in July (MW June 2), was expected to concentrate on his non-marketing interests such as a hotel in Barbados, a beer importation firm and Mark Telecommunications.

He had previously re-signed seven directorships and two chairmanships in the UK (MW April 28). But on June 30, the day before the Lintas takeover was completed, he registered five new managing director positions in companies he had previously resigned from: Kevin Morley Marketing, Kevin Morley Exhibitions, Kevin Morley International, Kevin Morley Group and Speakers Ltd.

He denies that he has increased his share holding in Birkdale as a precursor to taking over the company.

“It is a non-executive position and no more. This is not opportunistic, it is a long-term investment,” he says.