Kin + Carta Americas boss takes over as Schwan retires

Kelly MantheyKin + Carta, the print giant turned digital transformation consultancy, has promoted its Americas boss Kelly Manthey to group chief executive, succeeding J Schwan who is retiring at the end of this month.

The changes also see chief financial officer Chris Kutsor take on the additional role of chief operating officer. The rest of the leadership group, consisting of chief strategy officer Richard Neish, and Europe group chief executive David Tuck, remains in place.

The company said the moves are part of a planned succession strategy that sees the global consultancy build on its three-year transformation as it enters an ambitious growth phase, “profitably scaling both organically and through acquisition”.

Kin + Carta says Manthey will take over from Schwan to ensure “a seamless execution of the growth strategy, using her operational expertise to drive global scale”. She has been in the business of digital transformation for 25 years, with a career that has spanned every role in the business.

Heading up Kin + Carta’s Americas region, Manthey has been instrumental in building a “growth-minded business with a strong, diverse and progressive culture”. The region now accounts for 70% of the group’s revenue, growing from 400 people when Manthey was appointed group CEO, to 1,100 today.

She has led Kin + Carta’s Americas business as it earned accolades including Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators, Consulting Magazine‘s Best Large Firms to Work For and Fortune Magazine‘s Best Places to Work.

Manthey has also been recognised in The Consulting Report’s Top 25 Women Leaders in IT Services, Crain’s Chicago Business Tech 50, and is an active advocate for inclusion, diversity and raising the visibility of women in the technology sector.

Her career includes serving as CEO of Solstice, the agency Schwan founded in 2001. Solstice was acquired by Kin + Carta in 2015 – when it was St Ives – and added to its diverse portfolio of digital marketing services agencies.

Schwan took over as St Ives CEO in August 2018 and spearheaded its transformation into Kin + Carta, restructuring the legacy portfolio of businesses into a single firm.

In 2021, Kin + Carta became the first certified B Corporation on the London Stock Exchange and the first publicly traded company in its sector to achieve the certification. The business has also seen significant acquisitions including Spire Digital, Cascade Data Labs, Loop, Melon Group (including Frakton), and Octain AI.

Schwan more than doubled the market capitalisation of the company during his four-year tenure as CEO, returning over 115% in total shareholder return, putting Kin + Carta’s performance in the top 3% of the FTSE All Share. The company has posted an outlook of 49% growth for FY22.

Chairman John Kerr commented: “Kin + Carta is unrecognisable from 2018 when J took over as CEO, a period that delivered total shareholder return of 115%. With sterling support from Kelly and Chris among others, J has been the architect of this transformation, and on behalf of the Board, I would like to thank him for his dedication and contribution.

“J has successfully steered the business through this period of unparalleled change as he shaped a growing pure-play digital transformation consultancy with purpose at the heart of the business.”

Schwan said: “Kin + Carta’s transformation is now complete and a new, exciting growth chapter is underway. I’m incredibly proud to have played a role in building Kin + Carta and I’m delighted to be handing leadership to Kelly who has been central to our progress.

Manthey added: “I am honoured to lead the next chapter of Kin + Carta’s growth story as we scale globally, building on strong foundations, with an excellent leadership group, bound by a commitment to using business as a force for good. I am excited to continue serving our valued clients, shareholders and the fantastic Kin + Carta team as we build a world that works better for everyone.”

Manthey will take up the role August 1 2022; Schwan will continue in his current position until then and remain with Kin + Carta as a special adviser for six months to assist with the transition.

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