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Kin + Carta CEO Schwan hands over leadership to Manthey

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  • J Schwan is retiring as CEO of global digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta
  • Board appoints Kelly Manthey, Group Chief Executive of Kin + Carta Americas, to role
  • Moves are effective from Kin + Carta year-end, 1 August

Kin + Carta, the London Stock Exchange listed digital transformation consultancy, announced today that CEO J Schwan is retiring from the role at the end of July. He will be succeeded by Kelly Manthey, Group Chief Executive of Kin + Carta Americas, from 1st August 2022.

The changes also see Chris Kutsor, Kin + Carta’s chief financial officer, 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 moves are part of a planned succession strategy that sees the global consultancy build on its three-year transformation as the consultancy enters an ambitious growth phase, profitably scaling both organically and through acquisition. 

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 Kin + Carta’s revenue, growing from 400 people when Manthey was appointed as Americas Group Chief Executive, to 1100 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. She has 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 St Ives in 2015, 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 with a common mission of “building a world that works better for everyone.”

Schwan has led the consolidation of operations into two core trading regions (Americas and Europe), a globally aligned suite of services that solve the most business-critical digital transformation problems and a culture with social responsibility built into its core. 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 a significant acquisition drive including; Spire Digital, Cascade Data Labs, Loop, Melon Group (including Frakton), and Octain AI. 

Schwan more than doubled the market capitalization 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.

John Kerr, Chairman, commented: "Kin + Carta is unrecognisable from 2018 when J took over as CEO, a period that delivered total shareholder return (TSR) 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.

“The Board is delighted to appoint Kelly Manthey as J's successor. Kelly has been alongside J since 2006, including the evolution of Kin + Carta as Group Chief Executive for the Americas since August 2018. During that time, Kelly has been instrumental in profitably scaling the Americas business, including organic revenue growth of over 110% in addition to four acquisitions in the world’s largest and fastest paced digital transformation market. This next phase of Kin + Carta will be defined by continued growth and we are confident and excited that the profitable growth that Kelly has successfully executed in the Americas, evident in the strength of this trading update, will be replicated at a global scale.”

 

"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. After a fulfilling and rewarding 25-year journey it’s time for me to retire from consulting and look at pursuing projects in different domains. I will continue to be a happy and supportive advisor, shareholder and advocate for Kin + Carta during this next exciting phase of growth. I wish Kelly and the business every success as the company scales and I’d like to thank my colleagues for their hard work, drive and belief.
J Schwan, Kin + Carta
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.
Kelly Manthey, Kin + Carta

The Board proposes to appoint Manthey as CEO, and to the Kin + Carta Board, effective from 01 August 2022 when she will assume responsibility for the delivery of FY23. Schwan will continue in his current position until this date and will remain with Kin + Carta as a special adviser for six months thereafter to assist with the transition. 

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