Creative comms agency transfers ownership to staff

Clear Marketing Communications has transferred ownership of the business to its 30 employees.

Clear and present (l-r) Matthew Mitchell, Elaine Cunningham, Jim Smith, Gemma Stirling
Clear and present (l-r) Matthew Mitchell, Elaine Cunningham, Jim Smith, Gemma Stirling

Shareholders of the agency, which has offices in Glasgow and Manchester, has placed the business an employee ownership trust, with staff becoming partners and entitled to a cut of the firm’s operating profits.

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's creative output. Meanwhile, founder Jim Smith will become executive chairman and remain active in the business.

"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," Smith said.

"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."

Clear Marketing Communications was founded by Smith in 2001. He is a former chairman of the Manchester office of ad agency J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman 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 works with brands including Thomas Cook, Hoover, Topps Tiles, McArthurGlen Group, CALA Homes and Smooth Radio.

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