Employees take the reins at award-winning PR firm

By Tim Aldred

23 Jan 2024

Viva EOT

Ownership of Viva, the Rawtenstall-based PR and marketing agency which has won an impressive haul of awards over recent years, has transferred to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The move sees the majority share of the company's equity sold into the legal trust on behalf of employees.

The existing leadership team, which oversaw turnover growth of 26 per cent last year to a new record high, will remain in place and maintain day-to-day operational oversight. 

Viva has grown over the past two decades into a firm of 13 employees serving high-profile clients like BAE Systems, Eurofighter, NHS trusts and local authorities.

Tony Garner, who founded the company 21 years ago, says the EOT will help sustain the 21-year-old company’s legacy and culture for years to come.

He said: "I believe this step is the right way forward for Viva. We’ve spent the last 20 years establishing our name and I see the EOT as a great way of securing our future. Our employees benefit, and our clients have a clear picture too.

“We are in essence a people business and we’ve been successful thanks to our talent and culture. Our leadership and our team have ensured we have enjoyed excellent client retention even through challenging times while remaining a great place to work. Having employees own that success themselves will only accelerate our agency’s ability to deliver excellence.”

“The first 21 years have been a great adventure, the EOT provides a path to boost productivity, employee satisfaction and service quality for many more years to come.” 

Umar Memon from Jack Ross Chartered Accountants, alongside Steve Walker from Livingstons Solicitors, played a crucial role in facilitating the transition to an EOT.

Tony said: "The guidance and proficiency Umar and Steve brought to the table were exemplary. Their insights were invaluable in ensuring a smooth transition to this new structure."

Umar Memon, managing partner at Jack Ross said: "Witnessing a company take such a significant step towards employee empowerment and long-term sustainability is always rewarding.

"Our role involved detailed planning and close collaboration with Viva's team, ensuring that the transition complied with legal, tax and accounting requirements and aligned with the company's ethos and future aspirations."

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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