Manchester, UK-based creative communications and digital agency C21 has transitioned to become an employee-owned business.
The company, which specialises in design, digital and video communications for clients across the UK and globally, announced that it has established an employee ownership trust (EOT) for its 20 staff members on Employee Ownership Day (25 June).
According to C21, the EOT will make a material difference to staff by protecting the agency’s independence and commitment to clients, while offering the stability of a gradual and clear transition to new leadership. It will also provide a structured succession plan for founder Christina Clarke, who established C21 in 1998 and will remain in her current executive role to oversee the transition, with plans set up for her to become chair in the future.
Clarke said that becoming an employee-owned business is a “landmark moment” that provides an opportunity for the team to take the next step in their careers and ensure the service to clients continues to strengthen and grow, as employee ownership was the “clear and obvious” future for the company.
Led by partner Stephen Hadlow, law firm Brabners advised on the EOT and commented that as a growing number of businesses transition to employee-owned models, the firm has seen continued interest from boards, owner and managers who want to secure the future independence of the organisation.
“The EOT model ultimately safeguards successful cultures within firms, rewards staff and provides a framework for long-term growth. While employee ownership might not be right for all businesses, there is currently no other exit route which focuses strongly on these objectives,” Hadlow added.
“I knew I was in the best hands with Brabners,” Clarke said. “Not every legal team out there understands the commercial, service-led sector that C21 operates in – nor the relationships we have and value with our clients and colleagues.”