Milk & Honey PR becomes majority employee-owned

PR agency Milk & Honey has become majority employee-owned after transferring 55 per cent of company shares to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Milk & Honey PR becomes majority employee-owned

The move means Milk & Honey's employees can now influence decisions made by the business. The EOT is guided by a Team Council, which has a remit to scrutinise and guide decision-making by parent company Hive Group.

Staff can also take a tax-free share in the profits up to the value of £3,600 each per year. Employees can be eligible for ownership after working at the company for 12 months.

Hive Group includes the Milk & Honey business in the UK, Australia, and North America – the agency opened a New York office earlier this year.

The group, which was founded in 2017 by former Hudson Sandler MD Kirsty Leighton, has been valued at £3.6m as part of the EOT process.

Leighton said: “First and foremost, Milk & Honey is a people business. We have created a sustainable, purpose-driven, great place to work – while delivering incredible growth, ongoing profitability, and outstanding client success. We have always shared profit with our teams; however, this new EOT structure means we can legally empower the team to be more actively involved in the direction of their business and do so in a more tax-efficient manner. Essentially: ‘In our people we trust.’”

Lizzie Elkin, senior client executive and new EOT Team Council president, said: “Milk & Honey has always been a place where everyone’s opinion matters, but co-ownership takes this to a new level. We are now part of the strategic decision-making process and will help to guide the agency as it continues to grow. It’s PR by the people, for the people.”

Since 2014, UK firms have been able to create EOTs if they transfer at least 51 per cent of ownership into the trust. Milk & Honey joins the small number of UK comms agencies to take the step, alongside the likes of Citypress, Brands2Life, Tangerine, Cirkle, Clear Marketing Communications and Richmond & Towers.

In 2019, Milk & Honey was among the first PR agencies to achieve B-Corp status for its commitment to ethical practices.

In April this year, the agency launched its Purpose offering, led by Fiona Gildea.

Milk & Honey has 27 employees and works with a further 12 contractors.

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