One of the UK’s largest independent marketing agencies announces transition to employee ownership on EO Day

Big Group has celebrated becoming an employee owned business by announcing the big news on EO Day, the annual national celebration of employee ownership.

As one of the UK’s largest independent integrated marketing agencies, which features in the Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work For list, Big Group becomes the first LGBTQ-certified company in the UK to transition to employee ownership.

With offices in London, Amsterdam and Bath and a “Think Big, Deliver Excellence, Side by Side” mission statement, Big Group’s clients include Mastercard, Free Now, Samsung, Lenovo, Pizza Hut Delivery, ARUP and The North Face.

The company was founded in 1991 by Chairman and CEO Nick Scott and now employs 180 people with specialist teams in brand activation, creative, digital, events, performance, retail, social and strategy.

Announcing the company’s transition to EO via an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), Nick said: “The decision to transition was driven by a desire to maintain the company’s independence and recognise the commitment and talents of its employees.

“We are fortunate to have a successful and well-run company with a very talented team. We have not been short of approaches over the last few years, but the EOT route felt right for us and our values. The EOT will provide the foundation for our next stages of growth and the many exciting opportunities that we know lay ahead.”

‘Building a vision of future success together’

Following the transition, 83% of the business is now owned by the Big Group Holdings Trust, and Nicky Sargent, BAFTA Award winner, joins the trustee board as a non-executive director. Big Group’s management remains unchanged.

Justin Bulley, Client Service Director and a Big Group board director for 12 years, said: “The reality of ownership has brought new levels of business understanding to us all, not to mention our levels of proactivity and accountability together with a real feeling of sharing the load.

“All of these are directly and positively affecting our clients and helping us build a vision of future success together.”

Big Group is a three-time winner of The Drum Recommends Grand Prix Award, is recognised in the top 30 UK marketing agencies in the B-heard “Best Companies to Work For”, holds ISO 9001, 27001 and 45001 certifications and recently joined the UN Climate Neutral Now pledge.

James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said: “We congratulate Big Group on its transition to employee ownership; securing the company’s ethos, values, and culture.

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose, and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”

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Find out more about EO Day 2023

Listen to our special EO Day edition of the EOA Podcast on #TheEOeffect

View our collection of case studies showcasing the inspiring stories and successes of our EOA members

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