Silence over Fitch's future: Design firm reviews financial and management structures

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FITCH RS, the design company, said yesterday it was reviewing financial and management structures but refused to discuss the future of its founder, Rodney Fitch.

Speculation has been growing that the company is close to announcing the departure of Mr Fitch along with plans to sell its headquarters at King's Cross, London.

Details of the review are likely to coincide with the announcement of Fitch's year-end figures, which traditionally have been published in March or April.

Fitch said it had not yet set a date to report its preliminary results. The company's year-end is December and it is allowed until June to report its figures.

Yesterday Marketing Week reported that Fitch was talking to Capital Radio about the sale of its King's Cross building. The station is looking for new offices.

The building cost pounds 11m to buy and refurbish, but falling values in the area meant the site had been written down to about pounds 5.5m.

Fitch, rescued by a refinancing in 1992, made pre-tax losses of pounds 381,000 in its half year to 30 June compared with pounds 1.8m in the same period a year earlier.

Mr Fitch, who the magazine says may leave to set up a retail design business, would probably be replaced by Jean-Francois Bentz, a director whose French company, Brand Trust, holds 35 per cent of Fitch.

Sir Terence Conran, Mr Fitch's friend and mentor, is also a shareholder, having invested about pounds 1m in the 1992 rescue.

Mr Fitch was not available for comment, but the company said: 'The board of directors has noted recent comments in the trade press suggesting possible management re- organisation and property transactions.

'The board reiterates that it is considering a number of financial and management structures in respect of which an announcement will be made when appropriate.'