Glasgow's Clear Marketing moves to employee ownership

Clear Marketing Communications team: (from left) Matthew Mitchell, Elaine Cunningham Jim Smith and Gemma Stirling. Picture: Contributed
Clear Marketing Communications team: (from left) Matthew Mitchell, Elaine Cunningham Jim Smith and Gemma Stirling. Picture: Contributed
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A Glasgow-based creative agency is the latest Scottish firm to become staff owned, with its founder hailing a “natural step” in the company’s evolution.

Clear Marketing Communications, which works with household names including Thomas Cook, Hoover, Topps Tiles and Cala Homes, has transferred ownership of the business to its 30 employees.

The deal places a majority stake in the agency into an employee ownership trust, with staff becoming partners and receiving a proportion of the firm’s future operating profits.

Founder Jim Smith, who was formerly chairman of the Manchester office of advertising giant J Walter Thompson, hopes that the move will safeguard employee interests for the future.

Board director Gemma Stirling will become managing director of the Manchester branch following the transition, working alongside Matthew Mitchell, her counterpart in the Glasgow office.

Meanwhile fellow board director Elaine Cunningham will assume overarching responsibility for the agency’s creative output, in addition to her client-servicing role.

The agency provides brand strategy and creative marketing communications to businesses in the retail, leisure and consumer durables markets.

It joins Glasgow brewer West, Shetland-headquartered consultancy ESPL Regulatory Consulting and Edinburgh-based IT business Quorum Network Resources, which have also transitioned to employee ownership this year.

Smith, who will become executive chairman after the move, 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.”

Clear Marketing Communications was advised by employee ownership specialist Baxendale.