Kin + Carta CEO J Schwan hands over leadership to Kelly Manthey

22 July 2022 3 min. read
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Digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta has announced that its long-time CEO J Schwan is retiring from the role. He will be succeeded by Kelly Manthey, who was previously the firm’s Americas lead.

Originally a printing business based in St Ives, Kin + Carta pivoted away from that business model to become a digital transformation consultancy. Now, the firm has offices across the UK, Europe, the US, South America, and Asia, with a global team of some 1,500 technologists, strategists and creatives. The firm has spent recent times undergoing an ambitious shift into digital marketing, as well as working to extend its sustainability aims.

Having overseen these changes, CEO J Schwan has decided that the time is right to step aside as leader of the firm. He will retire at the end of July 2022, when he will be succeeded by Kelly Manthey, while remaining as an advisor, shareholder and advocate for Kin + Carta.

J Schwan and Kelly Manthey - Kin Carta

Schwan commented, "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 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.”

Speaking on the outgoing Schwan, Chairman John Kerr added, "Kin + Carta is unrecognisable from 2018 when J took over as CEO, a period that delivered total shareholder return (TSR) of 115%. 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.”

Kerr also noted that Schwan had been “the architect of this transformation,” with support from Manthey and Chris Kutsor, Kin + Carta’s Chief Financial Officer, among others. In her role 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 1,100 today.

The move to reposition Manthey as CEO is 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. She takes over from Schwan to ensure a seamless execution of the growth strategy, using her 25 years of experience with Kin + Carta, and her knowledge of digital transformation and operational expertise to drive global scale.

Manthey remarked, "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."

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.