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Josiah Wedgwood was also a patriarch of the Darwin-Wedgwood family. Many of his descendants were closely involved in the management of the company down to the time of the merger with the Waterford Company: John Wedgwood (1766-1844), eldest son of Josiah I, partner in the firm from 1790 to 1793 and again from 1800 to 1812. Josiah Wedgwood II (1769-1843), second son of Josiah I, succeeded his father as proprietor in 1795 and introduced the production by the Wedgwood company of bone china. In 1815, during Josiah II's time as proprietor, the great English Romantic poet William Blake (1757-1827) spent some time engraving for Wedgwood's china catalogues. Josiah Wedgwood III (1795-1880), son of Josiah II, he was a partner in the firm from 1825 until he retired in 1842.
Francis Wedgwood (1800-1880), son of Josiah II, he was a partner in the firm from 1827 and sole proprietor following his father's death until joined by his own sons. Financial difficulties caused him to offer for sale soon after taking over the firm's factory at Etruria and the family home Etruria Hall, but in the event and fortunately for the company only the hall was sold. He continued as senior partner until his retirement to Barlaston Hall in 1876. Godfrey Wedgwood (1833-1905), son of Francis Wedgwood, partner in the firm from 1859 to 1891. He and his brothers were responsible for the reintroduction of bone china c.1876 and the employment of the artists Thomas Allen and Emile Lessore. In 1986, Waterford Glass Group plc purchased Wedgwood plc for $USD360 million, with Wedgwood delivering a 38.7 million USD profit in 1998 (when Waterford itself lost $28.9 million) after which the group was renamed Waterford Wedgwood. From early 1987 to early 1989, the CEO was Patrick Byrne, previously of Ford, who then became CEO of the whole group. During his time, he sold off non-core businesses, and reduced the range of Wedgwood patterns from over 400 to around 240. In the late 1990s, the CEO was Brian Patterson. From 1 January 2001, the Deputy CEO was Tony O'Reilly, Junior, who was appointed CEO in November of the same year and resigned in September 2005, and had seen then succeeded by the then president of Wedgwood USA, Moira Gavin. In 2001 Wedgwood launched a collaboration with designer Jasper Conran which started with a white fine bone china collection and has since expanded to include seven patterns. The company today incorporates Coalport, Mason's and Johnson Brothers wares, and its parent company. Waterford Wedgwood also owns crystal brands such as Waterford, Stuart and Edinburgh, as well as Royal Doulton. Wedgwood continues to be headquartered on a 200 acres (0.81 km2) site in Barlaston.
On 5 January 2009, following years of financial problems at group level, and after a share placement failed during the global financial crisis of 2008, Wedgwood was placed into administration on a "going concern" basis, with 1800 employees remaining. On 27 February 2009, Waterford Wedgwood's receiver Deloitte announced that the New York-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners had purchased "certain Irish and UK assets of Waterford Wedgwood and the assets of several of its Irish and UK subsidiaries" in a transaction expected to completed in March. In March 2009, KPS Capital Partners announced that it had acquired group assets in a range of countries, including the UK, USA and Indonesia, would invest 100m, and move a number of jobs to Asia to cut costs and return the firm to profitability. In a move that had begun under the previous owners, some 1,500 jobs were cut in the U.K., leaving a few hundred workers in the U.K. producing only the high-end Wedgwood products.