• Transform magazine
  • September 23, 2017

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Rodney Fitch, design giant, dies aged 76

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Professor Rodney Fitch CBE 1938-2014

Rodney Fitch, the founder of one of the longest established international design consultancies, Fitch, and a creative force in brand design for over 40 years, has died of cancer, aged 76.

He had previously battled  the illness, ultimately unsuccessfully after it returned in April of this year. Fitch died the morning of 20 October 2014 in his Wiltshire home.

Rodney Fitch studied design, architecture and interior design at various London art and design colleges, before launching Fitch and Company Design Consultants in 1972. It grew to be one of the world’s largest design firms, and in 1982 became the first design business to launch on the London Stock Exchange. Fitch continued to grow the business, through both organic growth and acquisition until 1994, where he stepped down to concentrate on more focused projects under the name Rodney Fitch International. In 2004, however, he returned to the Fitch business, now owned by marketing services giant WPP, as chairman and CEO, before finally stepping down in 2010.

This was, however, not a conventional retirement as Fitch continued to write, consult and advise on design issues, both in the UK and abroad. Blessed with knowledgeable wit, he spoke at conferences, universities and in the media until relatively recently. In 1990, the year he co-authored the seminal ‘Retail Design,’ he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the design industry.

Current Fitch chairman, Tim Greenhalgh, commented “Spending time with Rodney was an enriching and an eye opening experience. He saw things in the world of brand and retail that others simply missed and he had ways of expressing his ideas that people fell in love with,” adding, “Rodney was a wonderful man, who was loved and will be greatly missed.”

He is remembered by a wife, five children and nine grandchildren.