Home Leeds Management buy-out completes at Leeds branding agency

Management buy-out completes at Leeds branding agency

Management buy-out completes at branding agency Thompson

As part of a planned succession, the senior management team at Thompson Brand Partners has completed an MBO, acquiring the shares of founder Ian Thompson and Managing Director Nick Ramshaw.

This follows a period of development of the management team and appointment of new Creative Director, Bob Sanderson, and Non-Exec directors Mark Runacus, founder of Karmarama and now of Wax/On, and Davnet Reid, Head of Marketing Performance at Sky Bet.

Founder Ian is reducing his commitment to the agency to spend more time filmmaking and on his other interests, continuing as a consultant in the short term. Nick will continue to work with the agency as MD, helping to support the new team through the transition.

The new management team is made up of Chris Skelton, Paul McGuigan and Rachel Cook. Chris heads up the new management team and oversees all Creative and Design output. Paul is Strategic Director, responsible for all brand strategy, and Rachel is Client Partner; heading up client services and overseeing all key relationships. Chris Kemm continues as Digital Director.

Having established itself as a brand and digital expert, working throughout the UK helping to develop brands for Mental Health at Work and Harrogate Spring Water, the agency will continue to provide strategy-led brand transformation and digital-first branding. Keeping brand and design at its heart, the agency will look to develop even broader brand worlds as it grows its service offering.

Ian Thompson, founder of Thompson Brand Partners, comments: “I’m delighted to be able to give the team the opportunity to take on the company. They are undoubtedly the right people for the job and this is the natural time for me to step aside and let the new team develop what has been built over 35 years. I’m ready to see what I’m capable of creatively as a film maker and I’m also ready to work with other creative teams to see if my experience can help them too. It’s a truly fulfilling moment when you can watch your company turn into something new, in fresh hands. This wonderful team have my warmest wishes and full support.”

Chris Skelton, who heads up the new management team explains what the MBO will mean for the business: “There’s already so much to be excited about in this business: Ian has helped us build a fantastic reputation and portfolio of work; there’s a studio full of exceptional talent and we’re lucky to have some amazing clients and projects. But we can also see opportunity to grow and make things even better.

“We’ve got nearly 20 years at Thompson between the three of us, so we know the business extremely well, including how much more we’re capable of. With a new burst of energy, and a particular focus on our growing our digital offering, we can push into some new and incredibly exciting areas of creative work. For us, it’s about building on all the strengths and heritage of the agency, whilst sharpening our focus for the future. Even with all the opportunity we see ahead though, we’re not losing sight of the core passions of the agency: branding and design. They are the disciplines the agency was built on and will always be central to what we do.

“We’re privileged to have Ian and Nick put their trust in us to carry on the 35+ year legacy of exceptional branding and design work at Thompson, and to have their continued support as we go into this exciting new phase in our history.”

Leeds-based top 200 corporate law firm, Shulmans LLP, acted for the sellers. The new management team were advised by Blacks Solicitors, with funding provided by Ultimate Finance and Mercia.