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New appointees to the DBA Board of Directors

The Design Business Association is delighted to announce the appointment of Merle Hall, CEO of Kinneir Dufort, and Nir Wegrzyn, founding partner and CEO of BrandOpus to the DBA’s Board of Directors.

Merle and Nir were appointed by the DBA membership at the DBA’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 October 2018. Paul Flowers, CDO at Lixil Water Technology and Lesley Gulliver, MD at The Engine Room were re-elected for a further one year term, and Sean Carney, CDO at Royal Philips and Will Rowe, MD at Rufus Leonard were re-elected three year terms.

153925614162739942Merle Hall

Merle Hall is CEO of Kinneir Dufort (KD), a leading user-centred innovation and product development consultancy. She leads a team of 80 strategists, innovators, researchers, designers, engineers and makers.

Merle joined KD in 2009 and in 2016 led a private-equity backed management buyout. She has 20 years’ experience in design consultancy and is an expert in design thinking, strategy and innovation, launching life-changing products and services globally, focusing on medical and consumer markets. Clients include Roche, AZ, Unilever, RB, Coca Cola and Raspberry Pi. Merle is a regular writer and speaker at an international level and curates the podcast, KD Conversations.

Kinneir Dufort’s purpose is centred around designing a better world and as such, we are responsible for rolling out the regional chapters of Kerning the Gap, (championing women in design leadership). In addition, we partner with STEM organisations Teen Tech and the Big Bang, the RSA and various charities focusing on the next generation of innovators, designers and engineers.

153925606663681549Nir Wegrzyn

Founding partner and CEO, BrandOpus

Nir is the founding partner and CEO of BrandOpus, one of the UK’s leading branding design agencies. His career spans both design and advertising. Life began in Israel, followed by an education in Switzerland and university in London where he gained his MBA.

Specialising in complete brand transformations, Nir’s career has seen him work with world renowned brands ranging from small luxury brands, such as Elida Fabergé, through to global FMCG brands, such as Kraft Heinz. He started out in advertising in the 1980s at agencies such as FCB, Publicis and Lintas where he held Board Account Director roles in the UK and Europe. He then moved into brand design joining JKR as Managing Director in 1996, helping grow the agency from 30 to 100. Nir founded BrandOpus in 2007 with a number of his peers. Over the last ten years the agency has grown rapidly, expanding globally with studios in Melbourne and latterly New York as well as London.

BrandOpus is recognised as one of fastest-growing agencies in the UK and has recently expanded into offering comms to reflect the changing needs of clients. The agency specializes in branding with a diverse range of iconic brands and clients within FMCG, B2B and food service, with this work winning a number of Design Effectiveness Awards. Nir is actively involved in the business providing strategic input for senior clients and focuses on growing the agency.

Nir is a collaborator and friend to pioneers in the fields of archetypal psychology, cognitive neuroscience, semiotics and behavioural economics. He is a regular media contributor, a guest lecturer at London Business School and is a regular speaker at Cannes Lions, the world’s largest festival of creativity, on the subject of branding.

After five years of dedicated service as President of the DBA Board, Jim Thompson has come to the end of his term. 

Steve Pearce, Global Design Director at Skyscanner and Brian Mansfield, Chairman at Taxi Studio have both stepped down as Board Directors after many years of service.

The DBA would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Jim, Steve and Brian for their years of service and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

DBA Board of Directors

The DBA’s Board of Directors is elected from the membership, and possess diverse, yet highly relevant experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting table of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support and enable the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.

Meet the Board here.


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