The change appears to be a setback for Tony Carlisle, the current chief executive, who will become chairman. He will be giving way to Cary Martin, the thirtysomething head of capital markets and privatisations. An Egyptologist at university, Mr Martin made his mark during 10 years at DR pulling in accounts for water, electricity and, more recently, overseas and UK generator privatisations.
"It is time for the old guard to give the new boys a chance," said Nico Rogerson, chief executive of the holding company.
Mr Dewe, 60 later this year, will remain chairman of the holding company.
The company is losing David Simpson, a senior executive associated with several prestigious clients including Williams Holdings, Trafalgar House and House of Fraser.
He is becoming chief executive of Ludgate, the three-year-old public relations company with a turnover of £6.5m. The company is 20 per cent owned by CinVen, the venture capitalists, and 80 per cent by employees. The appointment will fuel speculation thatthe company will float shortly.
"It is a superb move for us," Tim Trotter, chairman of Ludgate, said.