FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Irvine, April 2015
Renowned architectural and design firm WATG has announced the election of two executives to their board of directors. This year, the board welcomes the addition of newly elected Margaret McMahon, senior vice president and managing director of the Wimberly Interiors, and Deborah Rosenblum, vice president, who was re-elected for a second term. The two female executives joins a third woman on the board, resulting in three of the six director seats in 2015 filled by women. With women comprising half of the firm’s board seats, WATG has further distinguished itself with equal gender representation, a unique achievement in the architectural design world. This board member composition further demonstrates the progressive evolution of WATG as the firm celebrates 70 years of award-winning design. Other current and previously elected board members include Dave Moore (Chairman), Muriel Muirden, Rob Day, and Perry Brown. Mike Seyle, as President and CEO of the firm, is an ex officio member of the Board of Directors.
Tasked with charting the course for the firm’s short and long-term strategic vision, which includes client service and geographical expansion initiatives, among others, the WATG board meets regularly to develop and assess key business goals, and provide oversight for the company’s current and future operations. As an example, Wimberly Interiors, which is headed by Margaret McMahon, emerged from this BOD process. According to Perry Brown, having a vision for WATG and planning for this vision is where a great deal of satisfaction lies. “I enjoy coming together with the board and really looking toward the future,” says Brown. “Talking about the possibilities and making sure that we try to look from all aspects and scenarios from different angles is important. What are we going to do? Where do we want to be? And what does it mean? We try to cover all aspects and scenarios.” Quarterly meetings are held at or near various WATG offices, and to ensure a steady influx of fresh representation and insight, board members serve three-year terms, which are staggered, with two of the six Board positions up for election every three years. In addition to having women now representing half of the Board of Directors for 2015, this year’s elections were also noteworthy because voting was extended to significantly more employees, as a benefit from the company’s new Employee Ownership Trust Program. This new program allows employees with two or more years of service an opportunity to vote for board candidates, ensuring a greater number of employees have a “voice” in the firm’s future. Candidates are selected by the board nomination committee during an “open” nomination period which assists greatly in fostering a diverse cross section of experience, and fresh, insightful thinking.
The current board of directors team consists of the following individuals, representing broad-based experience and true to form, exceptional visionary capability:
Senior Vice President Dave Moore has been chairman of the board since 2012 and is based in the Singapore office, where he is managing director. With over 25 years of experience, he spans a wide range of project types and disciplines. Prior to his current position in Singapore, Moore served as the managing director of the Honolulu office, where he garnered diverse knowledge and expertise in mixed-use and urban development that included intimate beachfront retreats as well as luxury boutique properties. Chosen as a key part of the firm’s expansion plan, Moore has taken the Singapore office from just four people to include over 80 talented designers that work collectively across all of the WATG service lines.
Recently elected as secretary of the board of directors, Deborah Rosenblum is a vice president in the Honolulu office, where her range of skills includes concept through design development, documentation and construction administration, and extensive design expertise. Initially based in the Honolulu office, Rosenblum also served as managing director of the London office. Her design background originally focused on large international hospitality projects, with roles that varied from project designer to project manager, allowing her to develop a deep reservoir of hospitality project leadership experience. Rosenblum derives great satisfaction from seeing the impact her work has on those who visit her design projects.
As senior vice president and the head of the interiors service line of WATG, Margaret McMahon accomplished the successful launch of Wimberly Interiors, now considered a respected brand in hospitality design. Her vast design experience, from designing the acclaimed Bentley Suites at The St. Regis in New York and Istanbul, to opening successful interior design studios in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Dubai and Miami have distinguished her as an inspiring leader and true visionary in the world of interior design. McMahon’s work is often featured in leading international design publications such as Interior Design, Architectural Digest, and Hotel Design, among others.
Working from London office, Muriel Muirden is executive vice president of strategy, a key service practice at WATG that offers clients pre-development strategic advice and support. With a truly global perspective that spans Europe, Africa, the Middle East, China, Central Asia, and other regions, she advises the firm’s leaders on current tourism trends and market opportunities, while conducting proprietary research on evolving hospitality products and market dynamics. Brought up in the Far East and educated in Scotland, Muirden’s rich background includes serving as an instructor in the Office of Executive Education at Harvard University, where she lectured on economic master planning for large land-use projects.
Perry was recently elected as treasurer of the board of directors, and serves as senior vice president in the Irvine office, where his expertise is focused on site planning and design, project management, and construction management. Throughout his nearly 30 years, he has directed the design of numerous large-scale hospitality projects around the world, including the now legendary Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino in the Bahamas. Brown’s background with WATG includes the distinction of serving as managing director in two office locations in the US, where he led multi-disciplinary creative teams. His extensive international experience, from working in several global WATG offices, provides immeasurable value across a broad range of high profile projects.
As senior vice president and director of planning, Rob Day oversees the critical process of integrating a complex variety of components into a cohesive, forward-thinking design. His noteworthy contributions to WATG include re-establishing the planning service line with the company in 1998. His background includes work on a wide variety of experience on hospitality, leisure, and urban mixed-use projects around the world, including the expansion of the Bei Da Hu resort in northeast China. Known for practicing a highly collaborative, team approach with clients, while in the London office Day was tapped by the Ministry of Tourism in Morocco as their resort planning advisor for the ambitious Plan Azur, a nationwide tourism strategy to develop six coastal resort areas along the country’s Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.
As president and chief executive officer since 2009, Mike Seyle has proven a strong business, management, and legal background to WATG. His leadership in these and other key areas has resulted in significant international growth including the opening of new offices in Istanbul and Dubai. Prior to being tapped as president and CEO, Seyle spent four years as director of business and legal affairs for the firm, overseeing business, regulatory, insurance, and general corporate matters. Before joining WATG, Seyle held executive positions in a privately held financial services group, as well as a leading law firm in San Diego. He received his Juris Doctorate, cum laude from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California.
Over the course of the last seven decades, WATG and affiliated design studio Wimberly Interiors have become the worlds leading design consultants in the industry. With offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, London, Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, and Honolulu, the full-service design firm is best known for creating internationally acclaimed destinations in 160 countries across six continents. WATG offers design services comprising strategy, planning, architecture, urban design, landscape, and interior design for urban, tourism and resort destinations. WATG’s projects are renowned not only for their design and sense of place but also for their bottom-line success.
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