Bright future for Viva PR after switch to Employee Ownership Trust

Lancashire public relations agency Viva has become an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Bosses say the move will sustain the 21-year-old company’s legacy and culture for years to come.

The existing leadership team — which oversaw turnover growth of 26% last year to a new record —will remain in place and maintain day-to-day operational oversight

Under the plan, the majority share of the Rawtenstall company’s equity transfers into the legal trust on behalf of employees.

Founded by managing director Tony Garner (picurted centre) in 2002, Viva has grown over the past two decades into an award-winning firm of 13 employees serving high-profile clients like BAE Systems, Eurofighter, NHS trusts and local authorities.

Viva’s leadership feel that the creation of an EOT, often dubbed the John Lewis model, will ensure employees have a clear stake in the collective success and independence of the agency.

Tony 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.

“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.”

Umar Memon from Jack Ross Chartered Accountants, alongside Steve Walker from Livingstons Solicitors, played a crucial role in facilitating the transition to an EOT. Umar’s expertise in navigating the complexities of employee ownership structures and tax implications was instrumental in this process.

Umar, managing partner at Jack Ross said: “Working with Viva during their transition to an Employee Ownership Trust was a fulfilling experience. Witnessing a company take such a significant step towards employee empowerment and long-term sustainability is always rewarding.”

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