Business

Jobs saved as market research agency completes take-over

Gary McDonald Business Editor

FOUR directors of market research giant Kantar Millward Brown have completed a management buy-out of the firm's Belfast operation in Stranmillis.

The Irish News hinted at the move in June after the company, which employs 30,000 people in 100 countries, revealed that it had entered a period of consultation, potentially impacting around 20 permanent employees and at least twice as many more agency workers.

But has emerged that four senior directors of the firm - Catherine Toner, Alan Lobo, Glenn Hall and Dawn McCartney - have stepped in to create a new business called Cognisense Ltd, which will continue to serve the research needs of local businesses and organisations. It will operate from new offices at Adelaide House on Belfast's Falcon Road.

Having led the insights market in Northern Ireland since 1965 trading as Ulster Marketing Surveys, Millward Brown Ulster and more recently Kantar Millward Brown, the retention of the local team and its local knowledge means the new company can maintain its market leading potential in the north.

"This marks a significant return to local ownership while maintaining all the insight, experience and expertise built up over more than five decades and freeing the agency up to innovate in a meaningful way for this market and our clients," says director Catherine Toner.

“We are excited by this new chapter. Our success has been built on a foundation of a talented team with significant expertise and knowledge of the local market.”

Fellow Cognisense director Alan Lobo added: “The team are looking forward to continued, seamless relationships with our clients.

“Becoming an independent agency enables us to work more efficiently and with increased agility and responsiveness as we are no longer bound by the restrictive global procedures.

“The Belfast office of the Kantar Group has consistently achieved the highest scores globally for customer satisfaction and we are looking forward to continuing these levels of service.”

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