A UK-wide creative consultancy with its second biggest office in Edinburgh is moving to employee ownership.

Emperor is creating an Employee Ownership Trust to facilitate the move towards the new style of ownership.

All of the Edinburgh office’s 39 staff members will become employee owners.

It said that the change was aimed to reinforce the company’s desire to remain “an agile and people-focused business that fosters transparency and innovation for clients.”

The transition will directly involve employees in decisions that drive business growth.

The company said this would also be a “key driver of attracting and retaining the best talent.”

It said there would be no changes to the leadership or strategy of the business.

The move to the EOT model, which was managed by Grant Thornton, will see Emperor follow in the footsteps of around only 350 companies that have made the transition since legislation passed in 2014 to provide a route to employee ownership.

Following the transition, Emperor employees with 12 months’ continuous service will now indirectly own a majority stake at 67 per cent of the business, with the remaining 33 per cent being held by the original three founders: Steve Kemp, Noel O’Connor and Kingsley James.

The governance structure of the business will also see the management team joined by an employee board comprised of six members to represent the interests of employees from all parts of the business and offices.

In the future, the employee board will have elected representatives to ensure the employee voice is heard and helps guide the future direction of the business.

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Founded in 1996, Emperor specialises in corporate reporting, brand work, employee experience and sustainability across a range of channels channels.

With more than 200 employees and six offices in the UK and the Middle East, it maintains a rich, diverse and international client base across a range of sectors.

Emperor CEO Steve Kemp said: “Our decision to move towards employee ownership is rooted in our deep appreciation for the contribution our employees have made over our 24-year history. “Emperor has built a collaborative culture that promotes the best talent and innovation.

“This move will only strengthen it by emphasising our shared purpose and reinforcing the inclusive nature of our business.

“I believe this will put us in the best possible position to achieve our future aspirations as an independent agency.”

Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate Emperor on its transition to employee ownership.

“Giving employees a platform to truly engage with business growth is an exciting prospect for all involved.

“By widening ownership of the business, Emperor is securing the future of the business, including its ethos and values, and we are looking forward to following the business on this journey.”



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