The MindWorks team

MindWorks joins the list of employee-owned companies

The Hampshire-based marketing agency, which boasts clients such as Suzuki, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Royal Navy, Ford and Wiggle, has announced a change in ownership.

Managing director, John Harris-Burland, is selling his majority shareholding to a combination of the senior management team and a Trust that will hold shares on behalf of all the employees – much like the John Lewis Partnership model, where all employees share directly in the profits of the company.

Harris-Burland said: “Over the years, we have built a strong caring ethos at MindWorks. This is driven by our company values that dictate how we should work to deliver the best marketing possible for our clients, while working together in a caring and respectful way.

“By setting up an Employee Owned Trust, I can ensure this ethos continues as the new agreement specifies that the trust will be guardians of these brand values and responsible for overseeing the success of the company.”

As part of the transition, the company now has an elected member of staff on the board – making a female majority – and a further elected member of staff as a trustee. Additionally, all the directors are also now shareholders, adding to their commitment to the future.

Further significant changes for the company see Harris-Burland take on a new role as chairman, while Michelle Leggatt – a chartered marketer who has worked closely with John for over 16 years – becomes managing director designate, taking over fully as MD next year.

Leggatt said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new role at such an exciting time for the company. As the company has grown – now to some 34 members of staff – it has become increasingly difficult for John to balance the company administration with the client work that he loves so much.

"Now he can spend more time on marketing, while I look forward to taking on this wonderful new challenge of leading the company forward into its next phase of development.”

Employee ownership is now the fastest growing form of business ownership in the UK. Companies which are employee owned, or who have large and significant employee ownership stakes, now contribute £30bn to GDP.

Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate MindWorks on its transition to employee ownership which will secure the future of the business in the local economy while retaining the brand, ethos and values it holds dear for many years to come.

“We are seeing a trend of businesses which rely on people to differentiate their offer to consider employee ownership as a sustainable business model that empowers employees in a more meaningful way, which helps them to attract and retain the best talent and in turn helps to develop and maintain great relationships with clients.”