Shareholders at Manchester-based creative agency Clear Marketing Communications has transferred ownership of the business to its 30 employees.
The deal sees a majority stake in the business placed into an Employee Ownership Trust, with staff becoming partners and receiving a proportion of the firm’s operating profits.
Clear Marketing Communications was founded in 2001 by Jim Smith, former chairman of the Manchester office of advertising giant J. Walter Thompson.
The agency provides brand strategy and creative marketing communications to a wide range of businesses in the retail, leisure and consumer durables markets.
It has offices in Manchester and Glasgow and works with household names such as Thomas Cook, Hoover, Topps Tiles, McArthurGlen Group, CALA Homes and Smooth Radio.
Following the transition to an Employee Ownership Organisation, board director Gemma Stirling will become Managing Director of the Manchester office, working alongside her counterpart in Glasgow, Matthew Mitchell.
In addition to her client-servicing role, board director Elaine Cunningham will take over overarching responsibility for Clear Marketing Communications’ creative output.
Founder Jim Smith will become Executive Chairman and remain active in the business.
Jim Smith, Executive Chairman at Clear Marketing Communications, said: “The success we’ve enjoyed over the past 18 years is down to the passion, commitment and hard work of our employees, many of whom have been with us since the start.
“Transferring ownership was a natural step in the evolution of the business. It further reinforces our close client relationships, as the teams servicing them now have a tangible stake in the business.
“Over the years we’ve been approached by various London-based agencies seeking to establish a base further North.
“But for us there was only one option that safeguards the interests of employees and clients alike.
“I’m very much looking forward to assuming my new role and continuing to build long-standing client partnerships within this new ownership structure.”