Purplefish Announces Transition to Employee Ownership

Purplefish has become the first PR agency in Bristol to make the move to employee ownership after founder Joanna Randall sold all of her shares to an Employee Owned Trust (EOT).

Image: (L-R) Account Manager Zoe Fawcett, Founding Director Joanna Randall, MD Lucy McKerron, and Senior Account Manager Jonathan Adams (credit: Purplefish)

The move to EO follows two years after the award-winning Purplefish became a B Corp, joining the growing number of employee owned businesses (EOBs) gaining certification.

“As a sole owner and shareholder it can often be an isolated role so I’m really looking forward to being part of the new management team in defining our future direction,” says Joanna, who founded Purplefish back in 2012.

Twelve years later, the firm is a B Corp certified, Living Wage EOB, cementing its positive impact on people, planet, and its employees.

Making the move to EO

Throughout the transition process, Purplefish was advised by eoa Specialist Advisor, Baxendale Employee Ownership.

As part of the transition, a new board has been appointed. It’s made up of Joanna, who’ll remain an active executive board director, and Lucy McKerron, who’s been promoted to Managing Director two years after she joined the team as Associate Director.

They’re joined by two employee trustee directors: Senior Account Manager Jonathan Adams and Account Manager Zoe Fawcett.

“The business is perfectly aligned with my personal values of integrity, creativity, and compassion, providing rewarding work for the wider team – something which will only be emphasised as we move into our EOT model,” says Lucy.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to innovate as a business, both for our existing and new clients as we grow and evolve.”

As an EOB, the team will have greater input into the running of the business and its future, benefiting from a share of the profits.

A Human-Centric Approach

Purplefish is marking the move with a brand-new website which reflects the value of harnessing emerging and generative AI technologies while maintaining a human-centric approach to comms and marketing.

Sustaining this approach to creativity and its connections to the issues that matter sit comfortably alongside the firm’s aims of helping its clients stand out and thrive with authentic communications.

“I believe our traditional business structures are becoming outdated where companies are run for the sole benefit of owners and shareholders,” says Joanna.

“Employee ownership offers a more authentic way of running a business where commercial growth is still a focus, but the benefits can be shared more equitably.”

The firm, which works across the tech, property, and leisure sectors national and internationally, is also celebrating a clutch of new client wins in recent months including experience business Yuup and agency collective firm Istoria.

“A massive congratulations to Purplefish on transitioning to employee ownership. Combined with their B Corp certification and Living Wage status, the business has proven that operating ethically and authentically is not only better for employees and for the environment, but it’s also profitable,” says eoa CEO James de le Vingne.

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