The purchase was aided by £2m from private equity firm Octopus Asset Management, and debt finance from HSBC.
Pitcher will exit the agency he co-founded 14 years ago at the end of the year, but Stewart Smith has signed a 12-month contract to remain as a consultant.
Whale said the agency was in the process of carving out roles for individuals to take responsibility for 'marketing and sales, finance and people development'. He added that no other staff were leaving as a result of the MBO, first revealed in PRWeek (9 September).
In a reverse move, the new management has sold the agency's 15 per cent stake in Brussels lobbying consultancy GPlus. Pitcher, Stewart Smith, plus former Luther chairman John Booth and ex-finance director Nick Taylor, now own that stake.
Ordained as a vicar earlier this year, Pitcher said he would turn his attention to boosting the debate on the media's coverage of 'religious affairs and inter-faith issues', which include plans to create a TV programme.