Comms agency Camargue Group has converted an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), with 100 per cent of its shares now in the hands of staff via a trust.
Establishing an EOT means a trust holds a controlling stake in a company, owning 51 per cent or more of the business on behalf of its staff. This gives employees a financial stake, as well as the right to involvement in how the business is run. Under the scheme, a single employee can receive up to £3,600 in tax-free bonuses.
Camargue, which employs 86 people, moves to an EOT structure after 35 years of operation.
The business also announced today it is “refreshing” its management team to “reflect the new chapter”. At the start of 2023, director Ben Copithorne will become managing director, while current agency head Jo Lloyd moves to the role of chair.
In addition, six employees have been promoted to director: Catherine Grindley, Pete Jones, Matthew Lloyd, Beth Motley, Will Scawn and Isabel Stanley-Wickett.
Jo Lloyd said: “When we started looking at the next stage of our future, it was really important to us that we retained our independence and that we protected our values. We wanted to create a strong platform for growth and to put our people, who make us who we are, front and centre. We think clients will see the value of working with consultants who have a real and personal connection with their company.
“The UK and the rest of world are pretty febrile places at the moment, which presents opportunities and challenges – we believe independence and shared ownership puts us on a strong and dynamic footing to forge ahead.”
Camargue generated revenue of £8.3m in the year to 31 May 2022.
Several comms agencies have converted to EOT status in recent years, including Citypress, Brands2Life, Milk & Honey PR and Tangerine. Unlike Camargue, most have not gone for 100 per cent employee ownership. In April, PR agency Cirkle became the first EOT business of any kind in the UK to be sold, following its acquisition by Huntsworth.