St Ives Group is finally moving away from its 54-year print heritage to rebrand as Kin + Carta to become a “next-generation digital transformation business” under new chief executive J Schwan.
St Ives was first launched in 1964 when Robert Gavron took out a £5,000 loan to purchase a failing publishing business and renamed it after one of its printing plants, which was located in the town of St Ives.
Under his leadership, the company became Britain’s largest printer; when Gavron stepped down as chairman in 1993, St Ives was worth £400m. However, the subsequent rise of digital led to a massive decline in the company’s core business, ultimately forcing it to diversify into marketing services.
Its first deal was struck in 2010 when it bought Occam for £12m. Since then it has been on a major acquisition spree and under a recent restructure now comprises seven digital businesses – Pragma, Hive, Incite, TAB, Solstice, Edit and AmazeRealise – operating on four continents with over 1,500 staff.
St Ives completed its exit from print earlier this year when it sold its print management division to Paragon Group for £11m.
According to the company, the name Kin + Carta embodies what the group now stands for: Kin, as in family, represents the group’s emphases on connection and collaboration, and Carta, meaning map, underscores its mission to plot a clear path to the future.
Kin + Carta chief excutive J Schwan (pictured), who was promoted from chief digital officer to succeed Matt Armitage in the summer, said the group had taken a “radical approach” to help the world’s largest organisations achieve a more unified result.
He added: “We believe deeply that the most forward-thinking individuals want to work for specialist agencies that put culture first; until now, they haven’t had access to the necessary breadth and depth to create increasingly large and sophisticated digital experiences at the global scale.
“By enabling specialists to focus and collaborate, Kin + Carta offers clients a fluid model that helps them to build entire, seamless journeys, where every element reinforces every other. The result: from the moment a potential customer becomes aware of a product, brand or service to the moment they become a vocal brand advocate — a seamless journey towards loyalty, powered by data and creativity.”
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