Architect and interior designer DEGW, which was owned by Dutch management consultancy Twijnstra Gudde, has successfully concluded a management buyout.
Twenty-three people have bought stakes in the design firm, including Frank Duffy and John Worthington, who set up the firm in London in 1974.

DEGW, which has 300 staff, will retain its network of nine offices in Europe, Australia, the USA, Glasgow and London. This was established under Twijnstra Gudde after it bought the firm for £4m in 1996.

Holli Rowan, managing director of the UK business, said: "We mutually agreed with Twijnstra Gudde to buy ourselves back a year ago. When Twijnstra originally bought us, it planned to grow globally, but during the last couple of years it became more regional, based on Benelux. Therefore the link-up didn't make sense any more.

"Our core business is still planning the workplace, including development planning, strategic briefing, interior design, furniture consultancy and architecture.

"With the buyout, we have reorganised ourselves into multiskilled teams bringing together briefing consultants, designers, technicians and researchers.

"It also means that we are not run any more as a federation of offices competing with each other.

Now we are run as one organisation, with [our] offices supporting each other and our clients

Holli Rowan, managing director, DEGW UK

Now we are run as one organisation, with the offices supporting each other and our clients."

DEGW's former chief architect Stephen Greenberg, left the firm last December rather than join the buyout.

He formed Metaphor, an exhibition design consultancy that now employs four former DEGW staff.

Rowan believes the buyout, which was completed last month, gives the consultancy a clearer focus and more dynamism to offer a global service to multinational corporations such as Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) and BP.

"BP is a good example of a global client," she said.

"We are looking at its workplace needs in Texas, Chicago, Aberdeen, London and Sunbury.