ThinkPlace revamps its top structure for next growth phase

10 August 2020 3 min. read
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Chasing growth and bold opportunities in a disruptive environment, specialist Australian consulting firm ThinkPlace has revamped its top structure. The new Board of Management is led by the firm’s first ever chief executive.

Up until now, ThinkPlace was owned and led by co-founders John Body, Nina Terrey and Darren Menachemson. Under the leadership of the trio, ThinkPlace has grown from a boutique Australian design consultancy to an international player with teams in locations across five countries.

The firm’s 100-plus designers, consultants and digital experts work with central and local governments, businesses, industry bodies, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, community organisations, cross-sector partnerships and foundations on topics including public policy, system and organisational transformation, customer experience, human-centred research, innovation and digital transformation.

While most of its consulting industry peers have been struggling in a challenging environment, amid a fallout of external consultancy demand due to the Covid-19-induced crisis, ThinkPlace has managed to continue its pre-Covid-19 era growth momentum. According to Body, the firm continues to “grow, add new staff, and launch new products” and is working towards its “next growth phase.” John Body, Nina Terrey, Darren Menachemson, Dean JohnsonTo capitalise on the growth opportunities nationally and beyond, the trio of leaders have decided to adopt a new top structure, opting for a more clear-cut separation between governance and management. The Canberra-headquartered company is now run by a Chief Executive (Dean Johnson) and a Chairman (John Body), flanked by Board members Nina Terrey (Chief for Gender Equality) and Darren Menachemson (Chief for Digital Societies). 

Meanwhile, a group of five newly-appointed General Managers have been added to the enlarged leadership team. These are Sarah Patterson (Melbourne), Sarah Forrester (Canberra), Dane Galpin (Sydney), Danny DeSchutter (Canberra) and Sky May (Canberra). 

Dean Johnson

The newly created role of Chief Executive Officer is being filled by Dean Johnson, who has been with the consulting firm for six years. He returns from Africa, where he led ThinkPlace’s Kenya office and expansion across the continent. He also played a major role in the setup of a new office in Senegal, the firm’s tenth globally, set to formally launch next month.

“We are hugely excited to announce Dean as the first ever CEO of ThinkPlace,” said Body. “Building our business across Africa, Dean has shown a masterful ability to be creative and innovative with the products and services we offer while remaining single-mindedly obsessed about keeping the needs and interests of our clients at the forefront.” 

Johnson said: “I’m excited to be leading the leadership team. It is the perfect opportunity for me to return to Australia and take on such an exciting challenge.”

In terms of client work, Johnson is an expert in innovative research methods, human centred design, design-led business model innovation, strategy and new product development. He has worked with large government departments, NGOs, large private sector organisations and start-ups in Australia, the US, UK, Singapore, and East Africa.